The Western Cape’s call and contact centre industry is still growing rapidly, and should deliver at least the targeted 1,000 new jobs by the end of this year, according to CallingtheCape (CTC) executive director, Luke Mills.
According to CTC, the Dialogue Group, which provides outsourced contact centre services for international clients — hired 150 new staff during July, taking its total to just over 500 from 70 when it started in May last year. CTC says Dialogue intends to hire an additional 500 people by the end of this year. Another company, Fusion Outsourcing Services, which operates a call center on behalf of U.K. insurance giant, the Budget Group, plans to add 25 new recruits to its staff each month.
CTC reports that the Communication and Contact Centre Training Institute (CCTI) at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) has also begun to produce a steady stream of trained Dutch speakers, most of whom are guaranteed jobs at call centres operated by People2Contact and Absolutvalu.
CTC states that this rising demand for staff is not expected to level off during the next couple of years. To ensure that the supply of skills does not become a barrier to growth, CTC has just launched a cadet scheme, using 60 learnerships allocated by the Services SETA.
CTC says the scheme aims to give previously disadvantaged young people a start in working life, address any educational shortfalls that they may have had, and build up their confidence via practical experience in a working contact centre.
CTC says it will implement the cadet scheme in partnership with three other nonprofit organizations, the Insight Call Centre, the Call Centre Institute of South Africa and the Careers Centre Western Cape. The resulting qualification will be aligned with NQF Level Two.
This initial training will be followed by nine months practical workplace experience in participating contact centres. Cadets will receive allowances from CTC via the Services SETA learnerships, with host companies being responsible only for overtime and commissions.
“Busy contact centre managers often do not have time to nurture raw talent, or comply with all the bureaucracy that goes with learnerships,” says Mills. “The cadet scheme removes all the obstacles to taking on young, untrained new staff.”