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Jamaicans must prepare for tech-based jobs

Jamaicans must prepare to meet the demand for technology-based skills.

This was the focus of the “Future of Work Conference: Outsourcing 4.0” hosted by JAMPRO, the Global Services Sector Project (GSSP), the Inter-American Development Bank, and the Business Process Industry Association of Jamaica (BPIAJ) on October 16, 2019, in Kingston.

The Future of Work conference aimed to inform individuals about predicted demands, opportunities and operations of the Global Services Sector. In addition, it highlighted job and business opportunities in the evolving outsourcing industry as a result of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The event featured speakers including world-renowned analyst Phil Fersht, CEO of HFS Research; Erica Simmons from the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU); Ana Romero from the Costa Rican Investment Promotion Agency; and Yoni Epstein, founder of itelbpo.

The presenters focused on key issues arising in the workplace due to the advancement in technology, including “Global Trends & the Future of Work”, “Climbing the Value Chain in Outsourcing to Global Services”, and “Training the Workforce for GSS”.

Fourth industrial revolution: An opportunity for Jamaica

Rather than approaching the development of technology with apprehension, the panellists at the event urged Jamaicans to look at the opportunities that are available in the island, especially with the implementation of the GSSP that will train Jamaicans to acquire skills to work in business process outsourcing (BPO), information technology outsourcing (ITO), and knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) industries.

Keynote speaker Fersht said that as the focus moves from labour to talent, this is an opportunity for Jamaica to be positioned as a destination with the capabilities needed to serve these industries and provide value for customers.

Phil Fersht, CEO of HFS Research (Photo: HFS Research)

According to Simmons, who is the executive director of the Centre for Digital Innovation and Advanced Manufacturing at the CMU, Jamaicans must take note of current global trends in order to be positioned for opportunities arising from the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

“They’ve already said 35 per cent of the skills are obsolete, but I think when we look at something like this as a developing country, disruption is a good thing for us. We want to be in the disruption,” she noted.

She went on to highlight sectors and industries like biotechnology, automation, robotics, energy and blockchain as some of the sectors Jamaicans must look at as opportunities for disruption and economic growth.

“The industrial revolution is the largest wealth creation opportunity in the history of our planet, so whenever we hear something like that as a developing nation, we have to listen, we have to pay attention,” Simmons added.

Act now

President of JAMPRO, Diane Edwards agreed with Simmons and explained that through the implementation of the GSSP, Jamaicans will now have an opportunity to acquire the skills necessary for new jobs being created by disruptive industries.

“We must look at disruption and technology as a gateway to wealth creation for Jamaicans and the overall economy. The GSSP presents a chance for our talent in Jamaica to elevate their already great skills so they can be prepared for the transformation taking place across multiple industries ,” she encouraged.

Edwards… we must act now so we can become competitive in these fields and create higher-level jobs in outsourcing and other industries (Photo: JAMPRO)

“The critical element in this equation is time; we must act now so we can become competitive in these fields and create higher-level jobs in outsourcing and other industries,” Edwards continued.