Jamaican BPO provider Island Outsourcers has partnered with Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) to train Bahamian young people in call center service, in a program called the Contact Center Education Initiative (CCEI).
“Several years ago, GBPA commissioned a detailed contact center feasibility study to determine Grand Bahama’s viability as a nearshore call center destination. Following extremely favorable feedback, we then identified the industry as a ‘low lying fruit’ for Freeport,” stated Ian Rolle, GBPA President, at the event organized to launch the training program.
The call center industry is still in its infancy in Bahamas, the island nation commonly known for its serene beaches and sunbathing tourists. But officials say the island has all the advantages to become nearshore call center destination, emphasizing that Grand Bahama is just 56 miles away from Florida’s Palm Beach.
Several principals, administrators and teachers from schools across the island took part at the launch event.
The Caribbean call center industry has grown nearly ten fold in the past 14 years, with Jamaica being the centerpiece of growth, according to Derek Newbold, senior manager with the Bahamas’ investment promotion agency.
In 2002, call centers employed mere 11,300 people, but today there are more than 100,000 people working for it across the region, he said. “In fact, Jamaica is anticipating an increase of 15,000 new jobs in the sector by 2020, improving employment numbers in the industry to 30,000 people.”
It is not clear how many young people they are planning to train in the first phase of the program. According to Trika Mullings, representative of Island Outsourcers, participants will be taught about several soft skills, including leadership, customer service, and problem solving.
Island Outsourcers arrived in Bahamas in 2014, launching a call center operation in the capital Freeport, with nearly 200 employees.