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BPO sector set to surge 25% - BPIAJ

Published:Friday | July 5, 2013 | 12:00 AM

HEART Trust to train ICT workers

The Business Process Industry Association of Jamaica (BPIAJ) is projected to grow 25 per cent per annum and that local businesses will need 2,500 to 3,000 workers per year to keep meet demand for ICT services.

The sector currently employs 13,250.

President of the BPIAJ, Yoni Epstein, who signed an agreement with HEART Trust/NTA on June 14 to train ICT workers for the Jamaican said, says members expect that the agreement will lead to the creation of a talent pool from which they can recruit.

The arrangement is also expected to cut the cost of training now done inhouse by ICT companies in a sector that appears to be characterised by a high turnover of staff.

"Companies within the industry recruit weekly. Evidence of this can be found in the media, where the same companies publish customer service representative job opportunities weekly," Epstein said on Wednesday.

HEART Trust/NTA has established a Call Centre Operations lead group, comprising representatives from the vocational training institute, BPIAJ and other groups to review the types of qualifications needed by ICT workers, as well as competency standards and performance criteria for courses under the Call Centre Operations training centre.

Once the HEART programme is up and running ICT companies expect to dramatically reduce, but not entirely eliminate, on-the-job training for new recruits.

"With this training programme, recruits can enter client specific training in a matter of two to three days, given the necessary general pre-requisite skills would have been attained from the HEART Trust/NTA programme," said the BPIAJ president.

Epstein, who is also CEO of Island Outsourcers Limited, did not say how much BPIAJ is investing in the HEART training partnership.

Instead, he spoke of the savings that were likely to accrue, he said, from "increased competency of employees, less training time and cost, and, most importantly, an expanded pool of available labour".

Training within companies varies, but initial recruits across the sector tend to be schooled on entry about customer service, telephone etiquette and communication skills.

"These are competencies that are expected of recruits," he said.

The Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce indicated in September, when the BPIAJ was launched, that there was a possibility that Jamaica could claw back five per cent of the business which has gone to India or to the Philippines.

A reliable labour pool is considered a starting point in attracting ICT capital.

"In the past, companies have expressed interest in establishing operations in Jamaica, and the shortage of readily available skilled talent has been the reason for that not coming to realisation," Epstein said.