NAIROBI, August 22- A training academy for agents in Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) firms is due to be set up in Nairobi before the end of this year.
Mahesh Punia the Managing Director of LiveBean – the Indian consulting firm that will be conducting the training – said Friday that they were in the final stages of signing the deal with a local partner in readiness for the training which would be done in partnership with the US-based Call Centre school.
“The academy will focus on the front line agents and we hope to have more than 1000 of them trained,” he added.
He added that they have launched a scholarship program where they hope to make training more accessible and affordable to a large number of professionals which would in turn complement the government’s efforts to develop Kenya to be the preferred BPO destination.
The criteria for the selection of the scholarship, which will cost $300,000 (Sh20 million) will be announced on September 22 and it will be conducted in two parts.
The initial training will target 162 individuals while part two will have about 200 people.
Punia however said as the country gears itself towards developing a competitive industry, its education system needed to be revised in order to give more emphasis to mathematics and science-based subjects.
“We are not saying that the system is bad, we are just saying that it needs to be revisited so that it is competitive with what’s offered around the world,” he emphasised.
While commending the government’s initiatives to improve the sector by laying down the infrastructure such as the fibre optic cables, Punia said the real test would be in the development of capacity, knowledge and skills.
Punia told Capital Business that since May 29 companies have already signed up with them and they were looking at doing the same thing in Uganda and Tanzania.
“We are also looking at getting large companies from other parts of the world to set up call centres into Kenya,” he added.
He said although awareness of the benefits of call centers was being created, Kenya needs to market itself as an outsourcing destination.
Noting that Kenya has the basics such as a big talent pool, the investments , which are complemented by the players’ efforts, Punia expressed confidence that the sector would be fully developed in the next two years.
“Kenya is the right place to not only provide the basic low end customer service outsourcing but it can do high –end services if it addresses the challenges it faces such as infrastructure and training,” he added.
In countries such as India and Bangladesh where the BPO and ICT Industry is more developed the sector has brought in millions of dollars in investment from foreign companies, while creating thousands of jobs.
In India, the BPO industry is estimated to contribute about $10billion to $12 billion to the economy.