Jamaica’s Human Employment and Resource Training Trust, National Training Agency (Heart Trust/NTA or Heart) has launched a new training course for the BPO sector.
The three-week course, named Fundamentals of Customer Engagement Operations, arms candidates with the basic knowledge required to work in a contact center in Jamaica.
“We understand the importance of human capital to the industry and have been working closely with BPO firms to design programs that meet their needs,” said Terry-Ann Virtue, Manager of the Business Process Management Unit at Heart Trust/NTA. “This institution is uniquely designed to produce workplace-ready graduates, and the training and development of the BPO talent pool is high on our agenda.”
The program ensures that candidates have a clear understanding of the industry, such as performance and workplace requirements, and that they possess the necessary skills to excel. Employability skills and customer service is also a key component of this program.
The program requires 120 hours of combined coursework and fieldwork. Virtue said approximately 5,000 people are being targeted to be trained up to the end of March 2018.
After candidates successfully complete the course they are scheduled for interviews with BPO firms in Jamaica. Job placement is ultimately dependent on their performance at the interview.
Training within the new program commenced in August and is being offered island-wide, particularly in the BPO hot spots of Kingston, Montego Bay, Mandeville, and Portmore.
Companies in the sector have been working with Heart in order to churn out more trained graduates for the sector in a shorter timeframe, which has been spurred on by this new program.
“Human capital drives this business and we are constantly working with Heart Trust/NTA to enhance the national training facilities,” said Yoni Epstein, Chairman & CEO at Itel-BPO Solutions, during the CX Jamaica investment mission, organized by Nearshore Americas.
Heart used to have an 18-month training program, which was too extensive for most people, according to Epstein. “We helped to reduce that to a shorter certification, allowing people to come out faster with a much broader understanding of the sector’s requirements,” he disclosed.
There has been a mixed response to the program, according to Virtue, but Jamaicans are still curious about the industry. “Inquiries into our BPO programs have increased over 100% and this is just the beginning,” she said. “People are approaching us with questions about how to join, what level of compensation they will receive, and overall to better understand the sector and the working environment.”
Over the next few months, Heart will be intensifying its public awareness campaign in collaboration with investment promotion agency JamPro and the Business Process Industry Association.
“By 2018, we expect that the majority of Jamaicans will know that BPO is more than a job, it’s a career,” concluded Virtue.