Gov?t embarks on program to develop BPO skills in rural areas

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Seeing the vast potential of the rural areas in the development of the country?s business process outsourcing (BPO) industry, the national government is undertaking a series of workshops aimed at providing jobs and other opportunities in the countryside.

Photo credit: VisayaKPO
Photo credit: VisayaKPO

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST), through the Information and Communications Technology Office (ICT Office), said it is holding a series of ?Rural Impact Sourcing Workshops? from May to November.

The first leg of the workshops, which has the theme ?Digital Employment through Rural BPO for Inclusive Growth,? will kick off on May 30 in Daet, Camarines Norte.

Formerly known as ?Socially Responsible Outsourcing,? the program seeks to generate economic and social impact by upgrading the skills of inhabitants in the provinces.

The ICT Office said the ?Rural Impact Sourcing? is part of its efforts to contribute to the Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016, which has a commitment to produce 1.3 million traditional BPO jobs by 2016.

Outsourcing giant Accenture has, in fact, already started its rural BPO program with a tie-up with the VisayaKPO in Tanjay, Negros Oriental. The US firm said the partnership has produced impressive results for the town and the employees benefited by the partnership.

According to Accenture?s ?Exploring the Value Proposition of Impact Sourcing,? the global business process and technology outsourcing sector will grow to $674 billion by 2016 and ?impact sourcing? ? or BPOs located in the rural areas — is predicted to make up 11 percent of the BPO market in 2016.

Although the country?s BPO sector has flourished to become a multi-billion industry, the government said there continues to be a growing disparity in opportunities between the country?s top cities and the untapped rural areas.

The ?Rural Impact Sourcing? is taking on the challenge, it said, to train and develop a supply of knowledge workers in the countryside. At the same time, it is also geared to create an ecosystem that could attract global locators.

?This would generate more opportunities in these areas. Not only would it increase employment, it would also mean that the people from these areas no longer need to relocate to get employed. Instead, Rural Impact Sourcing brings the jobs directly to them,? said ICT Office executive director Louis Casambre.

Aside from Daet, the workshops are set to be held in Koronadal, Kalibo, Surigao, and Calbayog.

The first part of the Rural Impact Sourcing workshop in Daet will feature career talks from heads of ?impact sourcing providers? such as Bert Barriga of Digisource, Butch Valenzuela of VisayaKPO, and Jorge Azurin of Freelancer.ph. The second part will be a half-day workshop led by Online Job University founder Genesis Reonico.

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