Business

BPO sector heating up

Sutherland Global Services promises to employ all graduates of new BPO degree programme

BY AVIA COLLINDER Business reporter collindera@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, February 17, 2017    

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Country manager of Sutherland Global Services Limited (SGS), Odetta Rockhead-Kerr, says that the company wants to triple its workforce over the next three years, guaranteeing employment to those who successfully complete a new associate degree in business process outsourcing being offered by the Portmore Community College (PCC).

Speaking on the margins of the ground-breaking ceremony of the New Portmore Informatics Park yesterday, Rockhead-Kerr said that SGS is partnering with PCC and the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation to ensure that middle and senior managers for the growing sector become available.

“We have a gap in leadership. For every 10 employees, there is a need for supervision at the middle and senior management level,” the country manager told the Jamaica Observer.

Faced with a severe shortage of such talent, she said SGS was moving in “aggressive” partnership to ensure the vacuum was filled.


SGS is one of 40 local companies in the BPO sector which employs 22,000 workers. Rockhead-Kerr said the company was now offering value-added services in finance, human resource and other areas.

On Thursday, the Port Authority broke ground for a project which will provide additional employment, a build-out valued at $2.2 billion that will add 157,000 square feet of purpose-built space for local and international investors in the sector.

The programme, currently being offered at the Portmore and Old Harbour campuses of the Portmore Community College, will be rolled out in community colleges islandwide in September 2017.

Rockhead-Kerr said Sutherland Global was guaranteeing an internship of one year to all graduates, during which they will be paid salaries at the supervisory level, and upon completion, full employment.

The company, she noted, intended to grow staffing levels from 3,000 currently to 10,000 in three years’ time.

Concerns about the policies of US President Donald Trump, she stated, were providing new opportunities for BPO in Jamaica, as large international companies were now seeking near shore instead of looking to Asia.

The associate’s degree in business process management (BPM) offered by PCC over two years is a specialised career-track programme which requires 240 hours of work experience. The internship will be done at SGS’s facilities in Kingston and Mandeville.

PCC says in its brochure that the programme is tailored to suit the needs of non-traditional students, offering affordable and flexible payment plans, convenient class schedules and modular courses to encourage participation by the community.

To qualify for the programme, students are required to have five CSEC subjects (or equivalent) at grades 1 to 3, including mathematics and English language. There are also opportunities for mature entry and students with HEART level two Call Centre Operations.

Community College Principal Corrine Richards indicated to Caribbean Business Report that individuals with degrees or certificates in areas such as accounting, law, computer science, human resource management, can do the associate degree in BPM so they can practice their skills in a BPO environment.

It was noted that the bachelors in BPO was in development, but that in the meanwhile graduates can move on to the bachelor in business administration or computer science.

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