Developing the workforce

GIVING access to 5,000 skills development courses, from nurturing hobbies to exploring the sciences and IT, is how a BPO company in Cebu would like to develop its own talent pool.

Qualfon, one of the pionneering BPO companies in Cebu, opened early this month the Qualfon Study Lounge, a 76-square-meter facility located inside its building in Cebu IT Park, where its employees can take online courses at no cost.

First launched a year ago, Qualfon’s study program graduated close to 600 employees who took online courses on photography, cooking, Microsoft Excel, web design, animation, business, programming and many others, which can be completed in as early as two weeks.

There are also micro degree courses on science and engineering, IT, education and business to choose from, which can be completed in a year or two, depending on one’s pace.

It partnered with third party e-learning platforms for these online courses.

Qualfon Asia Pacific senior manager for higher education and community relations Joslyn Canon said education is part of the company’s thrust in the development of its 3,500 workforce.

For instance, some of its call center agents had enrolled in Excel courses that have allowed them to transfer to Qualfon’s department whose job entails scheduling and reporting of calls, which is said to be one of the highest paid departments in the company, according to Canon.

Until now, the BPO official said the same challenge is being faced by the industry: availability of qualified talents.

She encouraged close collaboration between industry players and the academe to produce graduates who are ready-for-work. Companies, she said, can also invest in skills development to better equip workers.

The Cebu IT/BPM Organization (CIB.O) estimates there are 130,000 IT-BPO workers in Cebu City.

Amid some challenges faced by the sector to include talent and some decline in outsourcing activities due to various business decisions, CIB.O managing director Wilfredo Sa-a Jr. said his office aims to reach 200,000 workers by 2019.
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