BPO industry, academe link arms to develop manpower in outsourcing sector

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Top universities and major business process outsourcing firms have formalized their common intent to formulate key policy reforms to develop the country?s manpower competencies for the BPO sector through the signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC).

IBPAP chief Jomari Mercado (left) gestures in this file photo. Beside him is former IBPAP executive director Gigi Virata
IBPAP chief Jomari Mercado (left) gestures in this file photo. Beside him is former IBPAP executive director Gigi Virata

Jose Mari Mercado, president and CEO of Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP), said the MOC establishes the framework to maximize opportunities and address challenges caused by global market forces.

Mercado said the Philippine BPO industry continues to exhibit very strong growth potential despite the fluid economic situations and evolving customer demands.

While the United States will remain its largest market, the BPO industry still needs to anticipate other factors, such as the growth of other economies, as well as the kind of services being demanded by changing consumer behavior, he said.

One of the priority areas for collaborative focus underscored in the MOC is the development of industry-specific student internship programs.

Mercado noted that the ever-changing requirements of the industry need to be addressed through the customization of the right skills and competencies.

?The partnership is important so that we could constantly adjust and funnel their (students?) skills and competencies to be more specific to the needs of the industries,? said Mercado during a panel discussion.

Mercado told reporters that the MOC will be a huge step to help reach the industry?s target for 2016 of bringing in $25 billion and employing 1.3 million Filipinos.

He also pointed out that the institutional-level collaboration will be mutually beneficial for the BPO industry, the national government, and the country?s academic institutions.

?The academe won?t just provide us with manpower, but also research and development capabilities to help us anticipate and adapt to changes. Meanwhile, the government will direct us to the necessary resources and facilities to complete our goals,? said Mercado.

Aside from developing structured internship programs, the MOC identified several priority areas for collaborative focus such as the faculty externship programs that will enable teachers to experience IT-BPM workplace situations; joint research and development programs and the planning of a comprehensive information strategy for higher education institutions on IT-BPM career opportunities.

The signatories were major players from the academe which include the Philippine Association of State Universities (PASUC), the Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities (PACU), Philippine Association of Private Schools, Colleges, and Universities (PAPSCU), and Philippine Business for Education (PBEd); while the IBPAP, together with its sub-sector associations, participated for the industry side.

The mutual collaboration between the industry and academe was witnessed by Atty. Carmelita Yadao-Sison, director IV of the legal and legislative service from the Commission on Higher Education.

The ceremonial signing occurred at the IT-BPM Industry Academe Government Forum entitled ?Breaking Through to Global Excellence?, held at the Marriott Hotel Manila.

The event gathered presidents and CEOs of the country?s top universities and colleges, both public and private, along with the heads and senior executives of major IT-BPM companies for high-level strategic talks to promote industry-academe partnerships and stimulate collaborative opportunities.

The IBPAP is made up over 300 global outsourcing firms and five industry sub-sector associations, namely: the Global In-House Centers Council (GICC), the Philippine Software Industry Association (PSIA), the Animation Council of the Philippines (ACPI), the Health Information Management Association of the Philippines (HIMAP), and the Contact Center Association of the Philippines (CCAP). — PNA

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