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Developing Filipino talent in IT-BPO

Ofelia Montallana-Orcales, head for Learning and Development at Ingram Micro Philippines Shared Services, is at the frontline of talent development for the information technology and business process outsourcing (IT-BPO) industry.

In just a little over a decade, the information technology and business process outsourcing (IT-BPO) industry has become an important engine of growth for the Philippine economy. Industry projections show that annual revenues could increase from US$11 billion in 2011 to US$25 billion in 2016. In anticipation of sustained high growth, the industry is implementing a series of strategic initiatives to support talent development and expansion of the workforce to 1.3 million by 2016.

These initiatives—collaborative efforts between government, industry, and academe—are meant to equip future IT-BPO knowledge workers with the right skills and attitudes for the increasingly complex work the industry performs. Ofelia Montallana-Orcales, who heads learning and development at Ingram Micro Philippines Shared Services, is at the frontline in the talent development effort to build the IT-BPO workforce.

As a member organization of the Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP), Ingram Micro Philippines participates in the association’s programs to hone the skills of prospective IT-BPO employees.

“One of the greatest things that happened to Philippine employment is IT-BPO. All the opportunities are here so you don’t have to go anywhere else,” said Orcales. “Most people don’t realize that life can be hard when you’re not in your own country.”

A respected figure in the industry, Orcales helped pioneer the very first call center-training convention in the Philippines in 2007. In her current role, Orcales collaborates with Ingram Micro’s Global Learning Council in North America, Latin America, Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East, and Africa to align learning and development strategies and execution in Manila.

According to Orcales, one of the key projects to support talent development is the service management program where she serves as a volunteer industry teacher. The program involves teaching service management electives to select students of state colleges and universities to prepare them for a career in the IT-BPO industry.

As part of the program, Ingram Micro provides students with opportunities to jumpstart their careers. “The goal of the OJT program we’re planning is to prepare students and help them succeed in the industry,” said Orcales. “Ingram Micro is proud to be among the pioneers of this initiative.”

Orcales devoted much of her career in corporate training. She was former president of the Philippine Society for Training and Development (PSTD) Foundation, Inc., which led her to champion the association’s vision to transform the Philippines into the training hub of Asia. Her efforts in talent development for IT-BPO were also honored in 2011 when she received the BPO Exemplary Trainer Award from TeleDevelopment Services Inc. and PSTD.

Work abroad, live here
Orcales believes it’s important for potential employees to have the right mindset to work in the IT-BPO industry, which is transitioning from primarily voice services to mainly non-voice, complex services. The non-voice sector grew by 30% last year.

“If you want to succeed in the industry, you have to have a vision, a goal. You have to determine and hone your expertise,” said Orcales. She adds that a good work ethic is vital. Demonstrating high emotional intelligence enables employees to grow with their organizations and get along well with their colleagues. “Your performance wouldn’t matter if you don’t interact well with the people around you. If you perform well and have the right attitude, then you have a huge chance at success,” she said.

For Orcales, Filipinos no longer need to work abroad to earn well and build global careers. “Here, they can search for jobs offered by global companies and create their own career paths without being away from their families,” she said. Through the BPAP career portal, jobseekers can find a career he or she desires among the various sectors in the IT-BPO industry.

About BPAP
The Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP) is the umbrella association for the IT-BPO and GIC (Global In-House Center) industry in the Philippines. BPAP serves as the one-stop information and advocacy gateway for the industry. With approximately 300 industry and support-industry members, including five associations, BPAP plays a pivotal role in sustaining rapid growth of the IT-BPO and GIC industry by working to ensure an enduring supply of high quality labor, supporting service innovation, and providing country visibility.

BPAP assists investors in setting up operations easily and quickly in the Philippines. Relevant research, introductions to key government and industry officials, and a series of briefings at each step of the investment process ensure a seamless development process. On-going support is provided through a wide variety of initiatives, including programs for HR development, business development, and on-going knowledge sharing and networking opportunities.