City proudly supports Cape Town as Africa’s call centre hub

15 Dec 2021 in Where We Govern

Cape Town’s booming Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector and skills development is a key driver behind the growth of this sector.  The Mother City has become Africa’s call centre hub employing more than 60 000 people in the city. Alderman James Vos, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Growth recently visited two call centres that are part of the Cape Skills and Employment Accelerator Project.  To see behind-the-scenes of this booming sector.

Through our partnership with CapeBPO the City’s Special Business Partner, we have trained and helped employ thousands of people in Cape Town’s call centres.

The SBP has helped bring R3,4 billion in investments into the economy in the past three years alone while helping 17 037 people gain employment.

In November 2019, the Cape Skills and Employment Accelerator Project was launched by the City of Cape Town in partnership with the National Skills Fund (NSF).  This project aims to create employment opportunities for marginalised youth and women. Under the programme, the City is contributing R55 million over three years towards training and work placement in companies in the call centre and clothing and textile sectors.

Cape Town is the first municipality to work with the National Skills Fund to roll out the programme.

During the first phase of this project, 3 300 learners will be trained and provided with the opportunity to gain valuable work experience in the BPO and clothing and textiles sectors.  The primary objective of this project is to focus on providing young people with the skills that companies need. This will ultimately help companies with developing skills pipelines that will lead to them employing more people.

The initiative is designed as an industry operator lead project which requires CapeBPO to recruit operators with the Project Management Office (PMO) consortium managing the learnership in its entirety.

During the past week, I visited two call centre operators that are participating in the programme – Boomerang situated in Wynberg and Merchants situated in Salt River.

  • Boomerang currently employs 302 permanent employees and 63 flexi-hour and temp employees. This number is projected to grow to 500 full-time employees by July 2022. The organisation had five successful intakes through the NSF BPO skills academy – 64 employees are currently on the skills programme while they successfully placed 82,81% of our learners from the  Cape Skills and Accelerator Programme on the NSF BPO skills programme.
  • Merchants have a staff component of 1 900 in Cape Town with an additional 300 starting next month. The organisation also recently secured SETA accreditation offering courses including: Contact Centre Support NQF2, Contact Centre Operations NQF 4 and Generic Management NQF 5. The Merchants Academy supports succession planning within the organisation, speaking to ‘next level’ development and progression planning. The organisation also accommodated an intake of 114 people from the hospitality sector this year. This project is an ABSA funded cross-skilling programme directed at unemployed youth from the hospitality and tourism sector across the Gauteng and Western Cape region.

The total intake since the NSF project commencement is 215 of which 17 is in the process of becoming permanently employed with full permanent benefits.

BPO is a key sector that consistently brings in investment and creates employment opportunities.