MONTEGO BAY, St James — Prime Minister Andrew Holness has assured stakeholders in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry that the Housing, Opportunity, Production and Employment (HOPE) programme will satisfy their burgeoning sector with trained workers.
“We have put in place a programme called HOPE, which is mobilising our youngsters who have just left school between the ages of 19 and 24, and we are getting them work-ready on an accelerated basis. And very soon you will have a supply of work-ready persons to employ in your operations,” Prime Minister Holness said on Wednesday.
“And the HOPE programme is specifically designed to deal with the knowledge, skills and attitude model to get our young people with a certain level of knowledge for the industry in which they will operate, develop their skills, but more importantly adjust their attitudes so that they are work-ready and in a frame of mind to be productive. So, again, we give that commitment to this industry which we have as a critical growth industry for Jamaica's development,” he said.
The prime minister also bemoaned the shortage of skilled workers ready to fill the numerous vacancies in the growing BPO sector.
“It's amazing that you would think that an industry like this, that employs people and has potential to employ vast numbers of people, that actual constraints to its growth would be having human resources that are trained at a level to assume work immediately. It is really an indictment on Jamaica that we have not been able to, so far, provide the human resources, that is the trained workforce, to keep apace with the demand for the services here in Jamaica,” Holness rued.
He was speaking at itelbpo's fifth anniversary celebration and grand opening of its new Montego Bay location.
Boasting a larger space than its previous location, the state-of-the-art facility incorporates a modern yet industrial aesthetic with a functional layout designed to boost productivity and improve employee comfort.
“Our new building sets us apart in the global landscape because it offers team members more space for work, which fosters innovation,” Yoni Epstein, itelbpo co-founder and CEO, stated.
Meanwhile, president of the Business Process Outsourcing Industry Association of Jamaica (BPIAJ) Gloria Henry hailed Epstein and his wife, Lisa, for being successful entrepreneurs who have established a strong presence in the BPO sector, employing more than 1,000 people at several sites in Jamaica and abroad.
“Itel expansion and opening of a new facility is a proud occasion for the BPIAJ, because Yoni is a local player that has done very, very well in five years. The facility is world-class and represents the modern workspace with a heavy focus on employee comfort and aesthetics,” Henry said.
“This investment further enhances the portfolio of the local players within the BPO sector,” she said.