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BPO sector attracts R954m in Cape Town, creates 2K jobs

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Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for economic opportunities and asset management, alderman James Vos, tours a city contact centre.
Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for economic opportunities and asset management, alderman James Vos, tours a city contact centre.

Since the start of this financial year (July 2019), to date, the City of Cape Town has attracted R954 million worth of investments in the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector.

This is according to the city’s mayoral committee member for economic opportunities and asset management, alderman James Vos, who notes the investments have resulted in 2 727 job opportunities in the city.

Vos says the City of Cape Town identified BPO as a priority sector due to the number of job opportunities and investment potential it creates.

According to Vos, the sector employs over 60 000 people in the Western Cape. “As a city, we realised the importance of this sector and for this reason invested in our strategic business partner BPESA [Business Process Enabling South Africa] Western Cape.

“BPESA Western Cape is the city’s strategic business partner responsible for the growth and development of the call centre and BPO industry.”

Vos’s comments come as SA is looking to dislodge India as a top offshore location for contact centre delivery globally.

SA was named the second most favoured offshore location for call centres worldwide in the 2020 Front Office BPO Omnibus Survey conducted by global firm Ryan Strategic Advisory.

Vos says over 50% of the companies in the BPO sector are situated in Cape Town.

“In the past few weeks, I conducted numerous site visits to key role-players in the BPO sector. These companies included global BPO giants Teleperformance and Webhelp,” he says.

“This week, I visited the RCS Group. I am amazed at the commitment of these organisations to keep their employees safe, and RCS is no different.”

Vos says the company employs nearly 2 000 people across South Africa, of which 1 500 reside in Cape Town.

“A prime example of how this organisation embraced the new normal is by the reskilling of staff. They retained the sales team to now function as a payment advisory team. The organisation took swift action to assist staff with pre-existing conditions, including offering pregnant women the opportunity to work from home first.

“Over and above adhering to strict social distancing practices on-site, they fog the entire building every Saturday to ensure a safe and clean environment. This coming week, I will check in virtually with the team at WNS,” Vos says.

He adds the BPO sector forms a key component in the city’s economic recovery plan.

“We are committed to growing this sector by providing a steady skills pipeline. To this end, the City of Cape Town is the first municipality that will receive funding from the National Skills Fund, which sits under the Department of Higher Education and Training.”

According to Vos, the funding from the National Skills Fund, together with city as well as industry funding, will be contributed towards training and stipends to ensure learners receive the industry minimum.

“I believe that for our city to compete globally and experience inclusive socio-economic growth, we must continue investing in skills and training for the sectors that are poised for substantial increases from employment and trade perspectives, instead of training for the sake of training.

“All administrative processes are now in place, and BPESA was appointed as the official service provider. A total of 1 100 unemployed youth in Cape Town will be trained during the year.”

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