Up to 4,500 additional jobs will be created for Jamaicans through construction of GTECH Park, a new business process outsourcing (BPO) complex in Portmore, St. Catherine.
Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, broke ground for the facility located at lot #2 in Cooks Pen on Thursday (October 24).
The complex will comprise three multilevel buildings, which can accommodate a total of 240,000 square feet of BPO operations, employing 1,500 persons per building and up to 4,500 in total on a shift system.
The Prime Minister welcomed this newest addition to the island’s growing BPO sector, which represents a $3.5-billion investment by developer, Portmore Holdings.
Mr. Holness praised the entity’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Gordon Tewani, “for having the faith in Jamaica to… make that significant investment”.
He noted that the Government is continuing to put measures in place to ensure the continued development of the BPO industry, which, he said, is a “strategic growth sector for Jamaica”.
“We are very happy to support this industry because it brings in employment and some amount of foreign exchange… . Employment in BPO is rapidly increasing. Since May 2017 [employment in] the sector has doubled, moving from 17,500 employees to now just about 36,000 employees. Within a few years, we could see employment in this sector possibly exceed 100,000 persons,” he said.
He said that the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), has, to date, approved more than US$73.9 million in loans to the sector and is seeking another US$40 million from the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service “to continue to enable the sector to grow”.
“That will, from our estimates, mobilise another 13,000 jobs in the industry,” he said.
The Prime Minister noted the Government’s commitment to rapidly increasing training, so that operators can readily find labour to occupy the BPO spaces.
“I have called on the Heart Trust/NTA and other stakeholders in the BPO sector to intensify their training efforts at all levels, so that we can meet the needs of the global information technology-enabled service industry. The community colleges, the universities now offer courses that will prepare young Jamaicans to work their way up in the BPO industry and assume top management positions,” he said.
Leader of the Opposition, Dr. Peter Phillips, who was in attendance, also welcomed the investment, noting that this is the first purpose-built development created specifically for BPO operators and represents a distinct new phase in the growth of the sector.
Mayor of Portmore, Councillor Leon Thomas, for his part, said the project augurs well for the overall development of Portmore.
Construction of the complex by Strength Construction Limited is to begin immediately and will last for 18 months.
The facility will feature easy access to parking and transportation; outdoor/rooftop space; kitchenette, elevator, a gym, and 317 parking spaces.