Microsoft launches the Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training Course

Tuesday, 15 March 2011 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Microsoft Sri Lanka has announced the launch of the Job Opportunities and Basic Skills (JOBS) Training Programme, targeting entry level skill development in the Information Technology Enabled Services and Business Process Outsourcing (ITES-BPO) industry.

The initiative is a multi-stakeholder workforce development initiative by the Sri Lanka Association of Software and Service Companies (SLASSCOM) – the national chamber for the IT and BPO industries – IDM Education Services, Infoshare Guarantee Limited and Microsoft. The JOBS Training Programme delivers skills training in Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Workplace Communication and Soft Skills required for selected entry level positions at leading employers including Amba Research, Dialog Axiata, HelloCorp, HSBC, Innodata Isogen Lanka, MedSource and RR Donnelley.

JOBS is implemented through Unlimited Potential (UP), which spearheads Corporate Citizenship at Microsoft. UP aims to bring the benefits of ICT to underserved communities around the world by transforming education, fostering local innovation, and enabling jobs and opportunities. Through unlimited potential, Microsoft has provided more than US$350 million in cash and software grants to more than 1,000 community partners to deliver skills training. Microsoft’s community initiatives are designed to help local businesses outline the competency requirements for new talent, evaluate the skills of students ready for an entry level job and collaborate with local education institutions to provide curricula and training.

“Building a skilled workforce benefits a country’s economy by expanding its pool of potential recruits,” explained Sriyan de Silva Wijeyeratne, Country Manager, Microsoft Sri Lanka. “JOBS not only delivers skills training but goes a step further. It orients training to match the requirements of BPO employers to build industry-specific expertise and ensure better job outcomes for individuals. Job skills are essential to developing careers and achieving success in virtually every sector of the economy. Recognising this fact Microsoft Community Affairs, together with SLASSCOM, IDM and Infoshare, set out to build collaborative partnerships between BPO employers and training providers. We are greatly encouraged by the industry commitment to delivering sustainable job skills training.”

JOBS articulates Microsoft’s pledge to ensure individuals have the requisite skills to succeed in the workplace through its delivery of customised training required for six entry level jobs: Customer Service Executive, Data Entry Operator, Transcriptionist, Accounts Associate, Legal Associate and Financial Analyst. The JOBS training is both generic and specific to these identified jobs and involves the application of existing knowledge and skills. Infoshare developed a skills framework using employer feedback, forming the basis for JOBS training, assessment and certification. This integration of skill requirements for the separate service areas in the BPO sector is a first step in establishing an industry standard to ensure training and development is in line with industry requirements.

JOBS is offered through IDM, Sri Lanka’s first ever private sector training institute and a leading provider of ICT education. Moreover the IDM study centers offering the JOBS Training Course serve as job centers for individuals looking to enter the outsourcing industry. Individuals applying for the course are provided comprehensive job center services. IDM advertises the available jobs and the employers, screens candidates, conducts training and assessments and directs successful trainees to job interviews at BPO companies. Trainees are certified by IDM, Microsoft and SLASSCOM. IDM’s Colombo Campus will initially offer JOBS training, subsequently rolling out the course at centres outside Colombo, including in Kandy and Negombo.     

Sri Lanka’s IT-BPO industry has set an ambitious goal of $1 billion in revenue to be achieved by 2015, representing an almost ten fold target increase in annual earnings. The global outsourcing industry is estimated to have realised only 10 per cent of its addressable market and has the potential to accelerate Sri Lanka’s socio-economic growth by delivering new business and employment opportunities. However, to seize these opportunities, Sri Lanka must increase the employability skills of its workforce.  “Sri Lanka ranked among the Top 30 emerging destinations for outsourcing in 2010 which bodes well for the future growth of the industry,” said Madu Ratnayake, Director and Vice President of SLASSCOM. “Part of our expansion drive focuses on building workforce capacities. JOBS is an important component in that effort: it delivers job-focused training, while raising awareness about the industry, the employers and the potential for long term, lucrative  employment in one of the country’s fastest growing business sectors. We thank Microsoft, IDM and Infoshare for taking a positive interest in the outsourcing industry and for contributing to the growth of the local workforce.”