Sutherland Global Services on Knutsford Boulevard in New Kingston
MANCHESTER, Jamaica – Sutherland Global Services Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) centre, which recently expanded operations to this south central town, as well as local community leaders are taking no chances.
They are quickly moving to dispel any misconception that business process outsourcing activities are linked to lotto scamming.
This comes against the backdrop that BPO establishments like Sutherland Global depend heavily on call centres to operate.
During a recent meeting involving executives of the United States-based company, and civic leaders in Manchester, the need for public education was emphasised.
“I would like to do both a job fair and a career day,” said manager of strategic initiatives for the Jamaica operations Olivia Leigh Campbell. “A career day for high schoolers so that they can get into their minds that BPO is not lotto scamming and it is not (just) a call centre. It is good, solid career that you can pursue,” she added. Lotto scamming has been prevalent in western Jamaica in particular over recent years, damaging the country’s reputation and endangering investments. The police say it has also been a prime motivation for violent crime because of feuding among scammers. Typically, scammers con their victims into believing they have won large sums on a lottery but need to pay over cash in order to collect their prizes. The victims who are mainly foreigners – many elderly – are often contacted by email or phone call. Sutherland Global Services recently started outsourcing operations at a 70,000 square foot facility on Ward Avenue in Mandeville – its third such venture in Jamaica. The Jamaica government’s information arm, Jamaica Information Service (JIS) has reported Country Head and Associate Vice President, Sutherland Global Services, Odetta Rockhead Kerr, as saying 500 people had been employed in Mandeville just lately. That’s among 3000 Jamaicans employed across the company’s Jamaican operations in just three years. JIS said Rockhead Kerr was speaking at the official opening of Sutherland Global Services’ New Kingston offices on January 22. “We have established three service delivery centres across the island. We have one at UWI (University of the West Indies) with 1,300 professionals of which 600 are students. We have this facility with 1,200 professionals (New Kingston) and we just opened in Mandeville, our third facility, which already has 500 professionals on board,” Rockhead Kerr said. Peter Michel, Associate Vice President of Global Strategic Initiatives, told the recent forum in Mandeville that at Sutherland Global there is room for “upskilling” and the jobs available are not just enough to pass the time while students are in college. Officials of Sutherland Global say that their business model is built around students, particularly at the tertiary level, studying and attending school. Mandeville and the wider Manchester boast Northern Caribbean University as well as smaller tertiary institutions. A Business Process Outsourcing industry has long been promoted as one way to drive the economy of Manchester and other areas in South/Central Jamaica, following the downturn of the bauxite/ alumina sector. President of the Northern Caribbean University (NCU) Dr Trevor Gardner claimed the area is now experiencing a level of transformation with BPO which will have as significant an impact as bauxite. He urged all the leaders from different sectors to plan the new outlook for the parish and not be passive participants, as with change there will be “bad” with the “good.” “Mandeville is being reborn. (At the base) of that rebirth is Sutherland. I see ten years from now when the history is being written we are saying ‘this happened because of Sutherland’ in the same way bauxite is talked about. It’s a clear vision,” said Gardner.
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