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Cape Town's call centre sector makes employment gains

Simnikiwe Mzekandaba
By Simnikiwe Mzekandaba, IT in government editor
Johannesburg, 26 Jan 2022

Cape Town’s business process outsourcing (BPO) sector created almost 5 500 international jobs in 2021, bringing the overall jobs servicing global clients to over 42 000.

This is according to the city, which indicates the international BPO market in Cape Town contributed around R14 billion to the metro’s economy during the same period.

In total, more than 69 000 people now work in the BPO sector in Cape Town, notes the city.

With international clients showing interest in South Africa's BPO sector, it has been tipped as one of the green shoots that will steer the country’s economic reconstruction and recovery in the aftermath of the global pandemic.

In addition, the country has developed an industry master plan set to further bolster the sector.

For the City of Cape Town, the BPO sector, which is commonly referred to as the call centre sector, has been earmarked as a priority industry for employment creation.

As a result, the city last year launched the Cape Skills and Employment Accelerator project in partnership with the National Skills Fund, to create employment opportunities for marginalised youth and women in the fast-growing BPO sector.

Under the project, the city is contributing R55 million over three years towards training and work placement in companies in the BPO and clothing and textile sectors.

To date, almost 1 400 unemployed and previously disadvantaged individuals have been trained for call centres and every single one of them has been offered permanent employment upon successful completion of their training, according to the city.

Cape Town mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis says: “It’s great to witness the fruits of this project, especially as it directly impacts vulnerable Capetonians who were desperately in need of a paying job, and channels revenue into Cape Town’s GDP.”

“As I have previously said, our higher purpose as public servants is to serve those who still suffer the indignity and deprivation of poverty by growing the economy and laying the groundwork for opportunities. Through initiatives such as the Cape Skills and Employment Accelerator project, we are making a meaningful impact in the fight against unemployment.”

Cape Town-based Capita South Africa is one of the call centres that absorbed trained employees through the employment accelerator project.

Alderman James Vos, the city’s mayoral committee member for economic opportunities and asset management, adds: “I am happy to confirm that this coming year, the city will be directing more funding towards the Cape Skills project, with CapeBPO, the local government’s strategic business partner for the call centre industry, facilitating the training programme.

“Realising the potential of Cape Town’s high-growth industries and extending their opportunities to Capetonians who need it most has been my goal since stepping into this mayoral committee position three years ago. Through programmes such as Cape Skills, we are achieving that goal and will continue to do so.”

To apply for a spot in the Cape Skills and Employment Accelerator project programme, participants must complete their registration and a series of assessments.

Successful applicants will then be selected for a 12-month programme with CapeBPO, during which time they will receive accredited training, a monthly stipend allowance and workplace experience at employer sites in Cape Town.

To sign up to the skills portal platform, click here.