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BPO sector seeking to build capacity in MoBay

Published:Monday | May 1, 2017 | 12:00 AMMark Titus
Dr Guna Muppuri


Some 40 participants from the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector got an insight into the fundamentals of effective workplace mentoring last Saturday when they participated in the first in a series of one-day seminars put on by the Caribbean Maritime Institute's (CMI) School of Advanced Skills at the Montego Bay Free Zone (MBFZ).

The sessions, which enjoyed the supported by the Port Management Association of the Caribbean, comes at a time when the demand for strengthening the available talent pool has increased.

"As an association, we are committed to improving the competencies of employees in areas required by the BPO industry to increase their employability and ability to advance within the organisation," said Dr Guna Muppuri, president of the Business Process Industry Association of Jamaica (BPIAJ). "In the past, we have engaged and are currently working with several training institutions to create the pool of qualified manpower to support the growth of the BPO/contact centre industry."

"Hence, this initiative with the Caribbean Maritime Institute is timely and critical to our efforts in enhancing and building on the basic skills of persons already employed in the industry," added Muppuri.

Despite the various concerns players have raised on different occasions, Jamaica has a strong BPO industry, which has been evolving over the past decade, offering value added services that support the competitiveness of various leading technology, consumer/retail and media brands globally.

There are about 22,000 persons employed in the local BPO sector, and this is expected to double by 2020, as the BPO industry moves to address the chronic shortage in the local talent pool.

According to Osric Forrest, the director of the School of Advanced Skills, the training session on mentorship and coaching was designed to ensure organisations across Montego Bay and in particular the BPO sector develop the competencies for recruitment retention and development of key employees to ensure increased productivity, encouragement of knowledge sharing and transfer of skills across the organisation or sector.

"Being certified often leads to added prestige," said Forrest. "Not to mention the fact that a CMI professional certification may also yield a pay bump and generally puts holders ahead of the pack."

In addition to its involvement in the BPO sector, the school of Advanced Skills also also provides training for unattached youths between the ages of 17- 29.