Port authority aims to help students find work


Tribune Freeport Reporter


WITH thousands of high school students preparing to graduate this summer, the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) has partnered with Island Outsourcers to prepare them for employment and future careers.

Twelve 12th grade students will participate in a new scheme - ‘Contact Centre Education Initiative’ - which will introduce and expose them to opportunities in the call centre and business processing outsourcing (BPO) industry - a fast-growing, billion-dollar sector.

Island Outsourcers, a subsidiary of iTelBPO Solutions, Jamaica, operates a call centre in Freeport. The company, which opened in 2014, is a comprehensive business process outsourcing solution that manages contact centre and back office functions for United States-based companies.

The new education and training initiative was presented to the members of the Grand Bahama Principal’s and Vice Principal’s Association at Freeport Gospel Chapel School last week.

Ian Rolle, President of GBPA, said the programme is designed to prepare 12th grade students with true employability skills. “GBPA is very proud of this collaborative partnership with iTelBPO, which in addition to providing certified training, seeks to address some of the inefficiencies many employers find disconcerting,” he noted.

“This programme will prepare them with essential soft skills for application in a number of identified growth sectors, especially the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry. These skills will include leadership, customer service, written and verbal communication, problem solving, motivation, interpersonal skills and creativity,” he added.

Trika Mullings, Training & Development Officer at Island Outsourcers, told the Principal’s Association about the wealth of opportunities for gainful employment and career growth within the contact centre industry. She reported that revenue of contact centre services in the United States alone reached $18 billion in 2013, and continues to show steady revenue growth.

“The ICT industry, which includes call centres and BPOs, employs around 100,000 people in the Caribbean, generating more than $1.5 billion annually in the Caribbean alone,” she added.

Ms Mullings noted that there is a broad range of employment and career path opportunities within the sector for trained individuals, which is what the Contact Centre Education Initiative will offer to graduating students.

Through aggressive research and marketing initiatives, GBPA attracted the first standalone contact centre operation in the Bahamas to Grand Bahama, in the form of Island Outsourcers, a few years ago.

Derek Newbold Sr, Manager of Business Development for GBPA and Invest Grand Bahama, said that the Contact Center Education Initiative is timely and creates a real opportunity for many graduating students.

“The reality is, thousands of students graduate each year, some have the opportunity to further their education abroad, while many remain at home studying locally and/or searching for gainful employment,” he explained. “This programme will provide an opportunity for students to develop their skills, and in the process, become much more marketable in terms of job-market readiness. Further, this initiative helps to strengthen our value proposition as a destination, making us a more attractive option to contact centre operators/investors. Most importantly, we see this effort as an investment in human capital development.”

The school principals were encouraged to adapt the online certification programmes into their curriculums for the start of the new school year in September.

“The GBPA believes the strategic partnership with Island Outsourcers will help to create a self-replenishing skills pool for the industry,” said Glendia Sweeting, Business Development Officer at GBPA and Project Liaison. “Participating 12th grade students will become certified in various aspects of the contact centre industry, as well as in other areas that will prove helpful when entering the job market. Therefore, we implore you, to get your students certified through this worthwhile education initiative.”


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