Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp#Jamaica, February 07, 2018 – Kingston – Business process outsourcing (BPO) once viewed is a stop-gap job option, has become a career of choice for many bright, young Jamaicans. In fact, many of them are moving to Montego Bay, which has become the centre of the country’s BPO operations, to take up positions in the sector.Among them is Junior Rogers, who tells JIS News that “I came specifically from Ocho Rios to Montego Bay to be a part of this rapidly growing industry.” He boasts that within three years, he was able to rise to a supervisory role at the business in the Montego Bay Free Zone, where he is employed.“The BPO sector is an important outlet for a lot of school leavers, who can chart a course for their future by becoming employed to one of these companies here in the Montego Bay Free Zone,” he says.Information Technology Manager, Tamara Smith, tells JIS News that numerous opportunities abound at all levels for the sector and is encouraging Jamaicans, especially young people, to seize the moment. Ms. Smith, who has been working in the BPO sector for five years, says the experience is very rewarding and that every day there is an opportunity to learn something new.“I love the fact that it is a fast-paced environment. I love the fact that this is a sector with prospects for growth and which is filled with great young minds and brilliant ideas,” she notes.Ms. Smith, who has seven employees under her wings, says the industry is more than just call-centre operations, noting that it is a great career move that will lead to economic stability and a rewarding future. She fully supports the Government’s focus on growing the BPO industry, noting that it is important that the investments, including human capital, continue to pour into the sector.“Like other Jamaicans, I am very optimistic about the future and really like what I am seeing here with our young people,” she adds.Young mother Simone Phillips credits the sector with providing her with a second chance after she had to leave school prematurely when she became pregnant.“I was a single mother at home and very unsure about my future. I had a chance meeting with someone who is employed to a prominent company in the free zone and the link was made for me to do an interview,” she tells JIS News.She says she was pleasantly surprised at the opportunity for growth and the fact that it is not just a call centre as many persons are led to believe. “I am not making millions, but my life has changed for the better,” she adds.Curtley-Ann Palmer joined the staff of Sutherland Global Services as a customer service representative in 2014, and four years later she would become one of the entity’s top-performing managers. She told JIS News in an interview in March 2017, that she worked hard and took advantage of all the training programmes, completing an undergraduate degree at the Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI).She was promoted to acting supervisor and then into her current position as an acting account manager. In this role, she oversees the account she has been assigned and ensures all client relations are smooth. She also works with her team to address work-related challenges. Ms. Palmer supports the push by the Government to use the BPO industry as one of the key sources of employment of young Jamaicans as part of the national growth strategy. She also strongly dispels the myth that the industry only employs persons to work in call centres.“There is something for everybody within this industry. If you studied finance or human resources; there is a place for you,” she notes.The Government is targeting BPO as a key part of its economic growth and job creation thrust. A total of 26,000 persons are employed in the sector and the Administration is looking to increase the number to 50,000 in short order. BPO has the highest employment growth rate of any sector over the last decade, with several new players and rapid expansion in operations. It has become the number-one source of employment next to tourism in western Jamaica. Revenues from the industry grew from approximately US$230 million in 2012 to US$400 million in 2015.Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Daryl Vaz, says greater focus is being placed on the training of persons, particularly for higher-end activities and high-value positions. He informs that the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ), through its free zones, will be working closely with the HEART Trust/NTA and the Business Process Industry Association of Jamaica (BPIAJ) to develop an incubator geared towards knowledge services and technology-type work. Additionally, he notes that programmes have been developed by the HEART Trust/NTA for BPO-related courses, on-the-job management training, international accreditation of courses and apprenticeship programmes.JAMPRO, through collaboration with private- and public-sector partners, hosted a job fair in Kingston last November to educate Jamaicans about the sector, and recruit people for jobs. At the event, the HEART Trust/NTA recruited persons for its three-week contact centre/BPO training programme, while a number of BPO companies conducted interviews for jobs in the industry. Minister Vaz says the next steps for the BPO sector include areas such as shared services, legal process outsourcing (LPO), and medical process outsourcing (MPO).The Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) says there is high demand for LPO, with law firms utilising outside support services for legal research and other routine work.“We have actively engaged several international shared-services operators and LPO operators in an effort to get them to expand to Jamaica,” Minister Vaz says.He informed that JAMPRO has engaged local universities and key stakeholders in a bid to provide details on higher-level jobs available to graduates in the new areas.“The sky is the limit for the BPO sector, and we intend to capitalise on every aspect of this lucrative industry for the benefit of Jamaica and Jamaicans,” Minister Vaz declares.By: Garwin Davis (JIS) Related Items:
California residents will soon have to reduce their water usage by 25 percent, according to a plan proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown at the first meeting of “The California Conversation” series held last Tuesday at Town & Gown. The discussion was hosted by L.A. Times publisher and C.E.O., Austin Beutner.The new plan would impose heavy taxes on citizens who use too much water during the crisis.“You’re going to see it in your water bills,” Brown said.The plan was proposed after several years of inadequate rainfall that forced California to deplete many of its river sites, including the Colorado River. Replacement sites have been difficult to locate.“Most good river sites have been built,” Brown said. “[We] depend on snow melt and mother nature.”Compounding the difficulties that California faces with the drought, Brown spoke broadly about the global warming crisis and its catastrophic effects on the world’s increasing temperature and changing currents.“This is a crisis,” Brown said. “This is not a political problem. This is not Democrats or Republicans. This is about humans.”California’s population over the last 50 years has boomed to the point that now 39 million people reside within the state. Brown noted this as another potential complication for the ongoing water crisis.“We haven’t grown slowly,” Brown said. “We have not had time to reflect. We are part of a complex way of life.”Brown urged the public to start using water wisely and more efficiently in their daily lives. At the same time, Brown noted that the government would begin implementing changes in both the residential and agricultural sectors to encourage water efficiency.“We need as many changes as we can,” Brown said. “We need to adapt to whatever environment that we’re in.”One of the changes that residential Californians would face in the coming years includes a conversion of grass lawns to eco-friendly ones that would lead to a 3 percent decrease in water use.“We need to adjust humankind,” Brown said. “Animals change to be on nature’s side, and we will have to learn to do the same.”Brown also talked about the long-term plans of his office to decrease the amount of water and pollution that California creates. Decreasing cars on the road by 50 percent and creating a 50 percent increase in renewable energy were some of the major changes he presented. Last week, state regulators announced historic cuts to farmers and others taking water from the Sacramento, San Joaquin and delta watersheds.Technology played a large role in the discussion as Brown spoke about many of the projects that were currently underway to increase water efficiency as well as future hope for new research discoveries.One current project is the Bay Delta Conservation Plan — a $25 billion venture that would divert water from the Sacramento River into the California Aqueduct.This project comes in addition to the Central Valley Water Project that also diverts water from northern California in addition to providing dams and reservoirs in the southern California area.In addition to the major projects instituted by the California state government, local water districts are also coming up with their own small-scale solutions to the water crisis. Brown suggested companies design streets around an aqueduct so rainwater would easily drain into it.Despite acknowledging some advancements on the horizon, Brown remained pessimistic about the current state of technology in terms of the water.“There are not a lot of new ideas right now,” he said.In addition to speaking about the crisis, Brown also took questions the public submitted to the L.A. Times for the event. The first question came from a citizen who denounced the bullet train project as a waste of water and resources during a time of crisis. Brown stood by the project, however, claiming that it would be beneficial for the environment and create an energy-efficient means of travel.“The roads are too crowded,” Brown said. “Trains can decrease car use.”The second letter came from an elderly couple who believed that the new policy would create considerable strain to their already tight water budget. Brown stood by his policy as a “work in progress.”“We can use water efficiently,” Brown said. “We’re going to stay the course and adjust if necessary.”In his final words, Brown remained hopeful about southern California’s ability to adapt and change during the crisis.“Water is more important than the economy. It’s more fundamental,” Brown said. “We got a lot to learn about adaptation and innovation. I’m confident we can be successful.”
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