Current Affairs

Current Affairs



Paulwell cites Sitel IT success
By Andrew Green, Staff Reporter

MINISTER of Industry, Commerce and Technology Phillip Paulwell has cited Sitel Caribbean as a success story in the local information technology (IT) sector.

Sitel has grown on a solid foundation from its start just under two years ago, Minister Paulwell said. He was speaking at a Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) job creation awards ceremony at the Hilton Kingston Hotel on Wednesday.

"We are using Sitel as one of the models as we move forward," Minister Paulwell said. "They started slowly. They recruited and trained carefully. And today they have authorised me to say that they are now growing by a further 200 employees."

The company started with a staff of 30, Patrick Casserly, managing director of Sitel, told the Financial Gleaner. "We will have 600 by June."

This is based on a new long-term contract the company has won to serve as the consumer contact centre for the North American operations of electronics giant Phillips International. That company is moving its entire contact centre business offshore and Sitel will be handling it.

Unlike many other call centres, "we don't do telemarketing," Mr. Casserly said. As a centre handling outbound customer calls from North America, staff have to be trained to a high level.

The company provides customer contact services via telephone, e-mail or web charts on behalf of several international companies

"A new trainee gets paid $4000 weekly and this rises to over $7000 with experience," Mr. Casserly said.

A target of creating 40,000 jobs in the IT sector by March of next year had been announced by the Minister in his April 2000 Budget presentation. To attain this target funding had been provided to a number of firms.

A number of these firms have now fallen short of their job creation goals and one, NetServ, was placed in receivership.

By contrast, in its short life Sitel has become an important corporate player in Montego Bay and on the national scene. When money woes hit the Jamaican bobsleigh team last year, Sitel donated $1 million to the programme.

"You need to start in the correct way; on the right footing; not by being too large; but to ensure you have the right cadre of staff; you have all the contracts in place and that you grow," Minister Paulwell said.

In his address to the PSOJ function, Minister Paulwell nominated Sitel for one of the new job creation awards being presented monthly by the private sector umbrella body.