ContactinGauteng (CiG), the membership based non-profit industry association for Business Process Outsourcing and Off-shoring (BPO&O) and call centres in Gauteng in proud partnership with event Platinum Sponsor Intelleca, hosted its tenth annual BPO awards on Saturday 25 August 2007 to acknowledge top achievers within the industry.

These awards are significant in that they recognise the achievements and successes of the individuals who contribute towards the development of the industry which is significant as Gauteng is the epicentre of growth contributing 34% to South Africa’s GDP. In the past two years, the call centre industry has shown significant growth, with some call centres having grown by more than 50% thus doubling their agent capacity with the creation of about 2 000 new jobs.
People are the basis of the call centre industry and Gauteng has the largest available pool of educated labour in the country. South Africa’s strength lies in its voice offering in that South African’s have a clear neutral accent,  are more conversational, engaging, and friendly. South Africa has more of a cultural affinity with the UK for example than that of Eastern Europe or Singapore does with the time zone compatibility being a big plus.
A high percentage of call centre staff in Joburg have at least a matric qualification or a university degree. This means that together with the training that the industry provides through programmes such as the City of Joburg BPO Skills Hub, prospects for career development for new entrants are higher in Gauteng.
Providing opportunities for career growth provides an incentive to increase capacity and achieve a critical mass of basic level skilled agents, team leaders, and supervisors direly needed to boost the industry’s delivery capability.
The recognition of people and the contribution they are making provides further motivation to attract people into the industry which in turn gives recognition for the industry’s role in people development and upskilling, equipping more people to participate in the country’s economy.
Keryn House, CEO of ContactinGauteng, says: “We are critically aware that the supply and quality of people, their attributes, skills and service delivery capabilities are a critical success factor to prove our competitive advantage over lower cost outsource destinations in order to fulfil investment expectations.
"Therefore, our ongoing focus in Gauteng together with local government, specifically the City of Joburg’s Economic Development Unit, is investment in people to develop a pipeline for new entrants to grow and progress within the industry. Giving recognition for their achievements is vital to retain the best people to realise a level of quality that the industry needs.”
This year’s winners in the following categories are:
* City of Joburg/ Edexcel Award: Merchants;
* Gauteng CEO Award: Bulelwa Koyana – Lathita Contact Services;
* Customer Service Award: Digital Solutions Group, Liberty Life, Softline Pastel;
* HR Service Provider Award: Quest Flexible Staffing Solutions;
* Best Outbound Campaign: SPM Direct;
* Community Spirit Award: joint winners Kelly & Liberty Life;
* Innovation award: Intelleca;
* Best BPO/Contact Centre: Direct Channel;
* Trainer of the year: Julia Mmita Kgoele – Merchants SA – Vodacom Business Unit;
* Agent of the year: Jasmina Ajoodha – Standard Bank;
* Supervisor of the year: Taheer Abed – Merchants SA – Vodacom Business Unit; and
* Manager of the year: Wayne Bradbury – Standard Bank – Customer Contact Centre.
Speaking at the event Sbu Xaba, HOD of the Department of Economic Development at the Gauteng Provincial Government applauded the industry for good results achieved over the past year stressing the importance of this contribution particularly because of the immense contribution Gauteng makes to the economy.
The City of Joburg which has been instrumental to the successes of the industry through the funding provided to CiG enabling them to attract international investment through international marketing efforts expressed their excitement of being a part of this rapidly growing sector.
“This has been a very exciting year for the City as far as the industry is concerned and we see the industry is creating jobs,” says Monique Griffiths Director Sector Support City of Joburg, Department of Economic Development.