Belize Training & Employment Centre Prepares Belizeans for Work
The number of call centers is growing in Belize creating employment to just under three thousand Belizeans. This week, the Belize Training and Employment Center is preparing individuals to become professional in the workplace. Isani Cayetano reports.
Isani Cayetano, Reporting
Business Process Outsourcing, BPO, as it is commonly referred to, is a burgeoning industry in Belize that is recognized as a specialized “niche” area. As such, it has become a priority sector for socioeconomic growth.
Rolanda Ferguson, Student, Belize Training and Employment Center
“It’s one of Belize’s fastest growing industries, you know, this where it’s happening so I guess this is where I want to be.”
With the emergence of call centers across Belize City, there has been a need to standardize the quality of customer service presently being offered.
Mike Singh, C.E.O., Ministry of Trade and Investment
“We’re seeing huge leaps and bounds, we’re probably up to about twenty-six, twenty-seven hundred employees in that sector, up from about nine hundred two years ago. We have something like eighteen companies active in that sector when we only had three, two or three years ago.”
The Belize Training and Employment Center, a unit of BELTRAIDE, has put together a comprehensive curriculum to address specific needs within the industry.
Christine Smith, Director, BTEC
“It provides demand-based training. We’re looking at specific industries and [we’re] looking at what are those skill sets needed for those industries and ensuring that the individuals who come to BTEC, at the end of the training, are in possession of those skill sets. So BTEC’s aim is to increase the employability skills of young people, as well as persons who are seeking employment.”
Enrolled in one of two cohorts is a class of about forty-two students. Among them is twenty-year-old Leigh-Andra Gentle. With prior experience in the field, she has decided to sign up for the course in order to improve on her existing skills before returning to the business.
Leigh-Andra Gentle, Student, Belize Training and Employment Center
“The skills that we’ve learned here [are] basically business ethics, how to carry yourself in the workplace, how to do deal with certain situations whereby if it gets complicated at work how to carry yourself in a professional manner.”
That aptitude, according to Training and Recruitment Officer Vanessa Johnston, extends beyond the workplace. Over the next three weeks participants will be taught various skills that will prepare them for the professional environment.
Vanessa Johnston, Training and Recruitment Officer, BTEC
“The first week and a half we focus on their soft skills. That’s their resume building, interview preparation, personal development skills such as conflict resolution, team building. All the traits that we know are employable and are what employers seek from the people that they want in their business.”
Possessing the necessary personal and professional attributes, particularly the development of interpersonal skills, clearly give these students a competitive edge over other job seekers in the market.
Ainsworth Courtney, Student, Belize Training and Employment Center
“This program, a manager from the Radisson told me about it and she suggested that I should attend. So I came and I’ve learned new skills that I didn’t learn in school and these skills are very, you can use these skills in BPOs and those types of places.”
It’s certainly a lead that is not lost on Rolanda Ferguson.
“I have an advantage over somebody that’s not sitting in these seats because they’re not getting what I’m getting so I have a way bigger advantage than them.”
BTEC opened it’s doors to the Belizean public a little over a month ago, utilizing space at the ITVET Building in Belize City.
“As part of BTEC’s training there is an intake process where you complete your application form, as well as doing a pretest in English, computer skills and typing skills.”
The first round of participants are expected to complete the premiere course in November. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.