Mandeville, Manchester – Sutherland Global, the business process outsourcing giant which began operations here last October, is planning to open a Mandeville Community Technology Centre (CTC) later this year.
The company’s Country Director Odetta Rockhead-Kerr told the annual general meeting of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce recently that the initiative will fit into the company’s programme to fulfil corporate social responsibility. But, also, it amounts to enlightened self-interest since it will be hoping to eventually employ at least some of those trained at the facility.
“The CTC will be a fully equipped digital laboratory offering basic computer training and Microsoft Digital Literacy Certification to anyone who enrols, and for the enterprising ones a pathway to employment at Sutherland,” Rockhead-Kerr told Manchester’s business leaders.
She noted that, “In Kingston the CTC has served over 1,000 people, mostly unattached youth from some 134 vulnerable communities. Last year the CTC partnered with the HEART Trust/NTA to deliver a 6-day Personal Development Course.
“This culminated in approximately 52 of the CTC graduates being trained in Personal Development through the Heart Apprenticeship Program, and over 35 of them being provided internship opportunities at Sutherland Jamaica offices. We expect to institute a similar programme here in Mandeville and expect the results to be the same, if not better.”
Rockhead-Kerr said the choice of Mandeville for Sutherland Global’s latest operation in Jamaica formed part of a careful strategy.
“In Jamaica, our very effective growth strategy has involved establishing delivery centres in non-traditional geographic locations and partnering with local universities, such as NCU [Northern Caribbean University] in this case, to recruit, train and hire students and graduates. This cutting-edge approach has allowed Sutherland to recruit a well-educated, highly motivated and loyal workforce…” she said.
She emphasised that her company’s operations in Mandeville and the wider Jamaica should not be confused with call centres. Sutherland’s operations, she said, involved sophisticated, non-core services for some of the world’s largest and most influential companies.
“From our centres right here in Jamaica, for instance, we offer finance and accounting, HR solutions, order processing, collections, sales, technical support, and customer life-cycle management to Fortune 50 and Fortune 500 clients. For us to operate a profitable business, our service delivery standards must meet and exceed those of the Fortune 50 and Fortune 500 clients … I’m sure you can imagine, therefore, that to deliver these services we require a world-class staff cohort and that many of these functions require degrees or other specialised training, and we are confident Manchester will deliver this.
“A business process outsourcing operation, therefore, is very different from what many of you would know as a “call centre”. Call centres often rely on cheap labour to fulfil low-skilled tasks, such as data entry or outbound sales calls, and are more concerned with volume rather than quality of contact,” she said.
Currently, Sutherland Global Services employs 800 “professionals” at its business process outsourcing centre on Ward Avenue in Mandeville. By the end of this year, the company plans to be hiring 2,300 people in Mandeville, supported by a fortnightly wage bill of $120 million.
That, claims Rockhead-Kerr, will have a transformative economic effect on the town. She has urged business leaders to take advantage of the opportunities that will inevitably be presented for hospitality services, including restaurants, accommodation and transportation.
Crucially, too, the Sutherland Global corporate executive has emphasised the need to strengthen security in Mandeville.
“I cannot overstate how important security is for us (Sutherland Global) to function as a business,” she told Manchester’s business leaders.
– Garfield Myers
Source: Jamaica Observer
Published Date: May 16th, 2016
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