Port Authority teams for improved IT skills

The Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) has teamed with a local call centre to develop a workforce with skills required by the sector and wider technology industry.

The partnership with itelbpo Smart Solutions is continuing to invest in human capital development through the Contact Centre Education Initiative (CCEI), which has produced graduates achieving certifications in information and communications technology (ICT) programmes for another year.

In its fourth consecutive year, the CCEI initiative remains focused on preparing hundreds of Grand Bahama graduates for gainful employment and careers in the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector that features itelbpo.

Glendia Sweeting, the CCEI programme co-ordinator from 2016 to 2020, said: "The Contact Centre Education Initiative is intended to provide 12th grade students with certified training that delivers essential soft skills that they can use across industries, and especially in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector."

The initiative was started in 2016 to address skills development in leadership; customer service; written and verbal communication; problem solving; motivation; interpersonal skills; and creativity. Two years later, e-business; e-commerce; marketing; and social media strategy were added to the programme.

"Despite the enormous setbacks caused by Hurricane Dorian at the start of the school year, and with the onset of COVID-19, our CCEI students have made us proud in completing the online course offerings," said Mrs Sweeting.

"Today, we congratulate all students who successfully completed this year's programme from Jack Hayward High School, Bishop Michael Eldon School and Eight Mile Rock High School."

Derek Newbold, the GBPA's manager of business development and Invest Grand Bahama, said: "The Contact Centre Industry, even today, provides a wealth of opportunities for gainful employment and career growth.

"The ICT industry, which includes call centres and Business Process Outsourcers (BPOs), employs around 100,000 people in the Caribbean, generating more than $1.5bn annually in revenue within our region. There exists a broad range of employment and career path opportunities within the sector for trained individuals, which is what CCEI offers."

The GBPA attracted itelbpo as the first standalone call centre operation in the country to Grand Bahama in 2013. "Our partnership with itelbpo Smart Solutions remains very timely and this sector, in particular, has the potential to create employment opportunities for many graduating students," added Mr Newbold.

"This programme creates a self-replenishing talent pool for our local industry, which is unique to The Bahamas."

Ian Rolle, the GBPA's president, said: "Each year, the programme kicks-off at the Principals and Vice Principals association meeting. We are grateful for the continued support of the teachers, who help students navigate through these online classes to gain skills for job market readiness.

"Our collective contributions through this programme help to strengthen our value proposition as a destination, making us a more attractive option for contact centre operators and investors."


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