Call Centre industry a beacon of hope for South Africa’s unemployed youth

Business Process Outsourcing is a burgeoning sector offering rewarding career opportunities

There is no denying South Africa’s youth unemployment crisis. At 42%, nearly half of the people aged
between 25 and 34 years old are unemployed. However, there is one sector that continues to offer our
youngsters hope of employment and a rewarding career, our burgeoning call centre industry.

Rajan Naidoo, Managing Director of EduPower Skills Academy, says Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)
or the call centre industry in South Africa has become a significant employer in recent years, providing
jobs for thousands of people across the country. The good news is that the opportunities will keep on
coming too as the sector is expected to almost triple in size by the end of the decade.

“More than 270 000 people currently work in the industry and recent reports estimate this will grow to
around 775 000 jobs by 2030,” says Naidoo. “This is great news for South African youngsters as the
sector provides job seekers with access to a rewarding career as well as further skills training and work
experience, delivering much needed economic and social relief for South African families.”


Why should you consider a career in a call centre?

  1. The most common reason why people register for multiple learnerships is to illegally benefit from
    the compounded stipend. Unfortunately, many are successful in this conduct as the SETA’s work
    independently of each other and there is no single database that records all learnership
    registrations. Learners can and are exploiting this weakness.
  2. There has also been a trend toward funding People with Disabilities (PWDs) for unemployed
    learnerships. As the community of PWDs is small relative to the general population, this has caused
    demand to outstrip the supply of candidates, leading to some unintended consequences. Some
    able-bodied learners find complicit partners in the medical industry and “forge” medical certificates
    to present themselves as disabled. In addition, learners with a medically certified disability
    sometimes register for more than one learnership concurrently because of the demand for these
  3. Many learners register for a learnership but do not attend classes or have work experience. Some
    training providers enable this type of behaviour by allowing and encouraging learners to be absent
    for most of the learnership. Even worse, they do not ensure that the learners get appropriate work
    experience and as learnerships have a monetary value for these training providers, all social value is


The solution?

No experience required
Most call centre jobs are entry-level and all that is generally required to apply is a matric certificate.
Unlike most roles, previous experience is not usually a prerequisite. Instead, it’s all about a great
attitude because recruiters are looking for people with a positive outlook, good communications skills
and a willingness to learn.

More rapid advancement
Whilst it’s fair comment that call centres often have a high employee turnover as it is a fast-paced
environment not suited to everyone, people who thrive in this environment can do well – and so can
their careers. That’s why most call centres offer opportunities for advancement, including supervisory
and management positions. There are also numerous roles into which you can develop, including quality
assurance, training, human resources, marketing and finance, accounting, IT, business intelligence and
data management.

Access to in-house training
Training is part of the experience when you work in a call centre. This allows you to develop new skills
and enhance existing ones such as communication and multitasking. As the job involves dealing with
particular products or services offered by the employer, you will also gain an understanding of the
company and the industry in which it operates and learn skills that will transfer to other jobs in the

Fun work environment
It’s expensive to recruit and train call centre agents so these businesses are at the forefront of employee
engagement initiatives. From senior leadership to team leaders, everyone is committed to ensuring that
you enjoy coming to work. With structured reward and recognition schemes as well as fun theme days
such as fitness, charity, dress-up and food forays, there is always something going on to ensure you will
feel valued, enjoy being part of a team and have opportunities to advance.

Better basic pay
Call centre jobs generally offer a higher basic salary than most entry-level positions. However, many
companies will incentivize employees to meet and exceed their targets, so your earnings are really up to
how much effort you are prepared to put in.

With call centres providing such significant impetus to job creation, Naidoo says that EduPower – a
leading learnership training provider – focuses on upskilling its learners with work experience to meet
the needs of the industry. From day one, learners are deeply immersed in the BPO world, developing
both practical and relevant skills.

“Our learnerships deliver structured experiential on-the-job learning opportunities through which our
youth can develop career competencies sought after by today’s employers,” he adds. “Working with live
campaigns, not simulations, that include surveys, lead generation and sales, our learners get real
experience that develops both their abilities and their confidence. The result is a proven model that
provides invaluable experience for young people who struggle to access the labour market, and
successfully bridges the gap.”

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