The Freeport News | July 2, 2020
The Grand Bahama Port Authority, Limited (GBPA), in partnership with local call center operator itelbpo Smart Solutions, continues to invest in human capital development through the Contact Center Education Initiative (CCEI), which has completed another successful year, with local graduates achieving certifications in ICT programs.
In its fourth consecutive year, the CCEI program remains focused on preparing hundreds of future Grand Bahama graduates for gainful employment and careers in the island’s Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry. Glendia Sweeting, CCEI Program Coordinator from 2016 to 2020, shared: “The Contact Center 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.”
In 2016, the program was developed 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 program. “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,” added Sweeting. “Today, we congratulate all students who successfully completed this year’s program from Jack Hayward High School, Bishop Michael Eldon School and Eight Mile Rock High School.”
Derek Newbold, Sr. Manager of Business Development and Invest Grand Bahama said: “The Contact Center Industry, even today, provides a wealth of opportunities for gainful employment and career growth. The ICT industry, which includes call centers and Business Process Outsourcers (BPOs), employs around 100,000 people in the Caribbean, generating more than $1.5 billion 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 the first standalone call center operation in the country to Grand Bahama back 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” continued Newbold. “This program creates a self-replenishing talent pool for our local industry, which is unique to The Bahamas.”
The program seeks to assist all graduates, but especially those who remain at home studying locally and/or searching for gainful employment. Ian Rolle, President of the GBPA, explained, “Each year, the program 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 program help to strengthen our value proposition as a destination, making us a more attractive option for contact center operators and investors.”