Young J’cans get BPO train­ing, job place­ment

Jamaica Gleaner - - GROWTH & JOBS -

MORE THAN 400 young Ja­maicans have com­pleted com­pre­hen­sive skill devel­op­ment train­ing for the busi­ness process out­sourc­ing (BPO) in­dus­try in the past three years un­der the Avas­ant Dig­i­tal Youth Em­ploy­ment Ini­tia­tive, which has con­sis­tently se­cured jobs for ap­prox­i­mately 95 per cent of its grad­u­ates.

The pro­gramme, which is be­ing im­ple­mented by the Amer­i­can-based Avas­ant Foun­da­tion – the not-for-profit arm of man­age­ment con­sult­ing firm Avas­ant – re­cently con­cluded eight five-week train­ing cour­ses in Kingston and Mon­tego Bay. A to­tal of 247 stu­dents grad­u­ated this year, with many of them al­ready ob­tain­ing jobs in the sec­tor.

GREAT SUC­CESS

Chi­tra Ra­jesh­wari, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Avas­ant Foun­da­tion, noted that choos­ing Ja­maica as the start­ing point for the ex­pan­sion of the ini­tia­tive into Latin Amer­ica and the Caribbean has been jus­ti­fied based on the re­sults to date.

“We al­ready of­fered this train­ing in Africa and In­dia, and when we con­sid­ered mov­ing to this re­gion, Ja­maica stood out be­cause the BPO in­dus­try was al­ready set up, grow­ing and cre­at­ing jobs. We saw the op­por­tu­nity to ad­dress youth un­em­ploy­ment by of­fer­ing train­ing and fa­cil­i­tat­ing job place­ment in the BPO sec­tor, and it has been a great suc­cess,” she said.

Ra­jesh­wari ex­plained that Avas­ant’s pre-ex­ist­ing busi­ness re­la­tion­ship with JAMPRO, the na­tional trade and in­vest­ment pro­mo­tion agency, also in­flu­enced the de­ci­sion. She added that JAMPRO has since been an im­por­tant part­ner, along with the Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy (UTech), Busi­ness Process In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion of Ja­maica, and sev­eral in­di­vid­ual BPO firms that have pro­vided train­ers and job op­por­tu­ni­ties. The United States Agency for In­ter­na­tional Devel­op­ment is also a key spon­sor through its Fi Wi Ja­maica Project.

CHANG­ING LIVES

Ra­jesh­wari in­di­cated that the ini­tia­tive has grown sig­nif­i­cantly since it first started with a pi­lot pro­gramme for 30 stu­dents in 2015. She pointed out that it tar­gets young men and women be­tween the ages of 18 and 26 years old with so­cially and eco­nom­i­cally chal­lenged back­grounds. They are given a daily stipend, text­books and note­books dur­ing the five-week course, which also has a site visit com­po­nent to view the op­er­a­tions of a BPO firm first-hand.

“We teach them com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills, cus­tomer ser­vice, how to be pro­fes­sional, and use of the tech­nol­ogy. It gives them a very good ori­en­ta­tion of the BPO sec­tor and once they com­plete the pro­gramme, it re­ally changes their lives. They can get a job and earn money to take care of them­selves and their fam­i­lies,” said Ra­jesh­wari.

Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of Avas­ant Foun­da­tion Chi­tra Ra­jesh­wari (third left, front row) and Pro­fes­sor Ros­alea Hamil­ton (third right, front row), vice-pres­i­dent, devel­op­ment and com­mu­nity ser­vice at the Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy, and di­rec­tor of the Fi Wi Ja­maica Project, pose for a photo with an Avas­ant Foun­da­tion grad­u­at­ing class in June 2017.

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