Mon | Nov 20, 2017

Growth & Jobs | Keeping Jamaicans employed - JAMPRO and HEART prepare workforce for BPO job surge

Published:Tuesday | October 17, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) National Coordinator Roger Williams (left); International Real Estate BPO Specialist Jeff Pappas (centre) and Vice President of Investment Promotion at JAMPRO, Claude Duncan, are captured speaking before a JAMPRO business forum to promote local investment in BPO. The forum was held in August.

More Jamaicans will soon be able to take advantage of the many employment opportunities in the fast-growing business process outsourcing (BPO) sector through training initiatives spearheaded by JAMPRO, the national trade and investment promotion agency, and the Human Employment and Resource Training Trust/National Training Agency (HEART Trust/NTA).

The agencies have partnered to develop a training programme that will equip Jamaicans with the skills needed to meet the immediate demands of the BPO sector, which currently employs 25,000 persons and is poised for tremendous growth in the coming years. Claude Duncan, JAMPRO's vice-president of investment promotion, noted that preparing the labour pool for BPO jobs was vital to the continued success of the sector.

"Ensuring a well-trained talent pool is essential to the expansion of the BPO industry and to the country as a whole. As more companies invest and look to increase their operations, we will need qualified people to meet the needs of the industry," Duncan said.

He explained that working with HEART Trust/NTA was central to the strategy of developing the country's human capital. Duncan added that the agencies have been working closely to ensure the programme is on track to deliver the desired results in due course.

 

SEAT AT THE TABLE

 

Dr Wayne Wesley, executive director of HEART Trust/NTA, stated that this strategic alignment with JAMPRO has given the national training agency first-hand information on the workforce requirements needed to push the sector forward.

"Through this partnership, we are able to have a seat at the table with JAMPRO, players in the BPO sector and potential investors. This gives us a clearer view of what is required of the workforce and we can better prepare them to have an immediate impact on the productivity of the BPO companies," said Wesley.

He advised that HEART Trust/NTA is currently involved in programmes that target school leavers, tertiary students, graduates, employed professionals as well as at risk and underserved youths. Wesley also pointed out that the training curricula covered the technical skills needed to secure a job as well as soft skills to improve employability such as communications, social skills, professionalism and business etiquette. He added that the scope of training includes partnerships with select tertiary institutions.

Promising career path

Dr Wayne Wesley, executive director of HEART Trust/NTA, has said that the ongoing training to prepare the labour pool for business process outsourcing (BPO) jobs would play a significant role in unlocking the full employment potential of the BPO industry in Jamaica. He indicated that the advancements made by the industry have resulted in opportunities that present a professional development path for workers.

"We're now seeing an environment where, with the requisite training and qualifications, one can have a career path that moves from an entry-level agent to a high-skilled worker or director."

Duncan expressed similar sentiments, noting that the industry offered an appealing mix of jobs that include contact centre voice services, advanced technical support, finance and accounting, software development, animation, and healthcare. He stated that while some persons viewed BPO jobs as a stepping stone, many Jamaicans are currently enjoying successful careers and have grown professionally in the industry.

"The BPO industry brings well-needed diversity to our business environment and offers attractive opportunities. We see the immense potential for economic growth and job creation for Jamaicans," said Duncan.