Tue | Aug 3, 2021

Meadows wants HEART to get pumping for Trelawny BPO boom

Published:Tuesday | June 15, 2021 | 12:09 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer
Dennis Meadows.
Dennis Meadows.

WESTERN BUREAU:

Former government senator Dennis Meadows is calling for an expansion of the HEART/NSTA programme in Trelawny to prepare more residents for employment opportunities in the business processing outsourcing (BPO) sector, which is poised to expand into that parish.

According to the Global Services Association of Jamaica, (GSAJ), Trelawny is one of two parishes currently without BPO operations and active considerations are now being given to changing that situation.

Meadows, who previously ran unsuccessful campaigns for the Trelawny Northern seat on behalf of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), believes that a proactive approach must be taken to prepare job seekers for employment in the lucrative outsourcing sector when the opportunities come.

“Trelawny is ripe, in my view, for the BPO industry, but we can’t afford to make Trelawny become a dormitory community, where people migrate to other areas for work and come back in at night,” Meadows told The Gleaner. “Trelawny, in my view, has a good group of schools that can provide the matriculation. Not every one of our students will be able to matriculate to become an accountant or a lawyer; [however] some students would be perfect for the BPO industry.”

He added: “Trelawny has space; we are not short of land. The Factories Corporation of Jamaica has a large factory space in the Hague area of the parish that is totally unused. Why is that factory not retrofitted and made use of?”

Gloria Henry, president of the GSAJ, who spoke to The Gleaner following the just-concluded Outsourcing 2 Jamaica Conference, Exhibition, and Career Summit, in Montego Bay, said Trelawny and all other parishes will benefit from the growth of the BPO industry by way of new investments and expansion of existing companies in short order.

“We expect that once the designed purpose-ready buildings are in those parishes, there are members who would be more than happy to invest in those parishes,” said Henry.

According to the GSAJ boss, she recently visited Trelawny to explore possible sites for BPO businesses, and she saw what she considered to be suitable locations.

“There are a number of places in Trelawny that have been looked at and that have been considered ideal for global services,” revealed Henry. “I don’t want to pre-empt any public- or private-sector investment project by naming any particular site, but I know that personally, I have seen some of those sites, and they are amazing sites that will certainly expand Jamaica’s proposition as a near-shore destination of choice.”

She added: “We are [also] eyeing St Thomas right now because of the development in the road infrastructure, and the buildings that we are expecting will go up following the road infrastructure.”

The country’s BPO industry, which was valued at US$720-million at the end of 2020, now employs over 43,000 persons.

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