Sutherland Global Services says campus centres “not 100 per cent for profit”

BY AVIA COLLINDER Business reporter collindera@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

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Sutherland Global Services (SGS) has told the Jamaica Observer that, through its campus employment centres, it is looking forward to developing a pool of highly trained workers who have specialist knowledge of the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry.


SGS signed an agreement with the University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech) in the final quarter of 2015 to finance construction of a centre named ‘Earn While You Learn’ on the university’s campus.


SGS has a similar a delivery centre on the Mona campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) which was started in 2012. Sutherland will employ the students and pay them a salary during the course of the training.


SGS declined to share the amount invested in both projects and said that the initiatives were "not 100 per cent for profit".


To date, the Business Observer was told, a total of 421 students were employed for the project.


"The objective is to make tertiary education possible in a challenging economy and reduce UWI’s drop-out rate," SGS stated, adding that under the hybrid model both UWI and Sutherland have a vested interest.


"Sutherland hires UWI students in the capacity of consultants (customer service representatives) with opportunities for promotion. UWI provides mandatory customer care training as a part of its curriculum for potential candidates. Sutherland provides product training to consultants," SGS explained, adding that it hires experienced support staff to run operations.


"Students gain valuable experience and income to keep them enrolled, while Sutherland aims to retain high performers post-graduation," the company response said.


Students are offered a 25 per cent tax break on earnings and have no need to qualify for scares loans, the company added.


Sutherland said it provides students with high exposure to technology while benefitting during the programme from reduced attrition itself. It says it hires both external candidates and UWI students at the same cost. The project, they said, also minimises opportunities for fraud.


It appears the universities also earn from the BPO project with SGS noting that the centres "provide a revenue stream to offset University operational costs".


SGS was founded in 1986 by the Indian-born Dilip R Vellodi who is chairman and CEO. Nearshore Americas website said that starting in 2014, the company poached several top BPO executives as part of a plan to expand rapidly in the Latin American region. SGS employs about 36,000 people in more than 40 centres worldwide, with 40 per cent of its revenue coming from Fortune 50 companies, Nearshore Americas website also said.

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