Govt Creating Environment to Grow BPO Investment
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Audrey Sewell, says the Government is creating the supportive environment to increase business process outsourcing (BPO) investment, through the build-out of office space and providing access to training and incubator services.
Mrs. Sewell, who was speaking at a recent Labour Market Forum at the Terra Nova Hotel in St. Andrew, noted that the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) has committed US$73 million for loans to finance 15 projects islandwide.
This provision will fund the creation and build-out of over one million square feet of BPO commercial space, which is projected to generate approximately 24,000 jobs.
Additionally, the Factories Corporation of Jamaica has undertaken to design and construct more than 750,000 square feet of space on 34 acres of land that will generate approximately 20,000 jobs, among them the Naggo Head technology park in St. Catherine.
She informed further that the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ) is constructing over 63,000 square feet of space in Montego Bay, work on which commenced in 2017, along with development of another 157,000 square feet in Portmore, St. Catherine, which is slated for completion by year-end. Both projects will create over 6,000 additional new jobs.
Mrs. Sewell noted that the PAJ will also be working closely with the HEART Trust/NTA and the Business Process Industry Association of Jamaica (BPIAJ) to develop a second incubator, geared towards knowledge services and technology.
The initial incubator, which was established in Montego Bay in 2014 with support from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), has been facilitating the transition of businesses from start-ups to full-fledged operations.
Mrs. Sewell further indicated that HEART Trust and BPO operators have developed programmes for industry-related courses, including on-the-job management training, international accreditation courses and apprenticeships.
Additionally, she said, the PAJ has supported and participated in activities to create a skills development programme to be funded by the IDB, which will entail a finishing school to improve employability gaps in the sector.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Sewell said the Government is targeting more high-end operations beyond the traditional human resource management, finance and accounting, and contact centre offerings.
She said that legal and medical process outsourcing are among the services being pursued, noting that the local universities and other key stakeholders have been engaged to prepare graduates in these areas.
“The aim is to create the global employee, who can provide services in various (BPO sub-sectors) in any country in the world,” the Permanent Secretary said.
This year’s 10th staging of the Labour Market Forum was held under the theme: ‘Enabling Growth and Development: Unlocking the Potential of the Global Shared Services Sector’.
It was jointly organised by the Planning Institute of Jamaica and the Labour Market Information Technical Advisory Committee, with support from the IDB.