CIB.O seeks industry support in bid to secure talent pool
A leader in the local information technology-business process management (IT-BPM) sector called for greater collaboration between industry and the academe in talent preparation, especially with the anticipated shortage of college graduates in the next two years.
Wilfredo Sa-a, Jr., managing director at the Cebu IT-BPM Organization (CIB.O), said they are looking for more industry partners to help in efforts to maximize the hiring of Senior High School (SHS) graduates by 2019.
“It is very important that the industry continues to partner with the academe for talent preparation,” he said in an interview.
To address the lack of college graduates two years from now, CIB.O has partnered with the Cebu City government, through the office of City Councilor Joy Young, Cebu City Department of Education, and the Department of Information and Communication Technology for a program called Learning English Application for Pinoys (LEAP).
LEAP, a 40-hour self-paced training program, was introduced to 27 senior high schools in Cebu City in August last year to help improve the oral communication skills of SHS students.
The software was developed in the University of the Philippines Diliman and was funded by the Department of Science and Technology. It was piloted in Cebu in 2014 through a partnership between CIB.O, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda), and Qualfon.
“Surprisingly, the feedback from those who joined the training was very positive,” said Sa-a, adding that this convinced CIB.O to launch the program in schools in Cebu City.
He said that the trainees enjoyed the program because elements of a game are incorporated in it, something which Sa-a said SHS students would be inclined to as well.
Among the schools participating in the initiative are the project’s lead public high schools in Barangays Apas, Mabolo, Banilad, Lahug and Zapatera.
Sa-a said he has reached out to Cebu-based contact centers to help in the implementation of the program, particularly in the provision of headsets which the students can use during training.
So far, he said Qualfon, Convergys, and Azpired have expressed willingness to partner with the academe in this regard.
Qualfon recently donated 51 headsets to Apas National High School while Convergys wants to assess students that have undergone LEAP to determine whether they are qualified for possible employment and undergo additional training.
Sa-a said LEAP will not only prepare them for entry-level positions in the BPO sector, should they choose to venture into the industry after they graduate, but also equip students with the necessary skills for other fields such as tourism and hospitality.
“LEAP is just foundational training. Eventually, we would like to ask the BPO companies to partner with these schools who are active in the training so that once the students graduate from the program, the companies will be able to consider them for hiring,” he said.
The Cebu City government projects to grow its BPO workforce to 200,000 in 2019 from the current 140,000.
Local industry stakeholders estimate the sector to grow conservatively at 10 percent annually in the next two years, bringing in 28,000 to 30,000 new workers by the end of 2019.
Sa-a said this initiative will help meet that target, given that industry growth will not be derailed by external noises such as still unclear policies on outsourcing from US President Donald Trump.
CIB.O and the Cebu City government are also set to mount a career caravan for SHS students this September to ensure that industry talent is enough and well-developed.
A career caravan was earlier held from July to August this year, where 5,000 students from 20 public schools participated.
“It’s really a golden opportunity and we didn’t realize until now that we can tap our SHS students as our future talent pool,” Sa-a said.
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