Peterborough’s pioneering campaign to
improve career prospects and quality
standards in the fast-growing customer call centre industry will be
nationwide next month (November) with the launch of a new ‘best
A Standard for Best Practice and a
national campaign to improve the image of
call centre careers is being introduced, a meeting of Peterborough’s
Centre Forum was told. The news came from Colin Mackay, head of
standards at the Call Centre Association which represents the
430 member organisations.
With the call centre business growing at
around 15 per cent and creating
almost 40,000 new jobs annually, Peterborough has been at the
initiatives to recruit and train more people and to develop systems
will offer employees long-term career prospects.
A Call Centre Forum initiative - launched
by Greater Peterborough Investment
Agency (GPIA) and Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce last autumn
brought together the city’s major call centre operations and
government-funded pilot scheme to train people for call centre jobs.
Now plans are underway to expand the
pilot training scheme and to encourage
more people to pursue call centre careers.
GPIA chief executive Gloria Milne told
forum members: “We have made
considerable progress in raising public perceptions about career
within the customer service call centre industry. Now we aim to
system that will attract people from among Peterborough’s ‘latent
to benefit from the flexible working arrangements that are now
“Customer service call centres offer
new employment prospects for hundreds
of local people, including those who have been made redundant from
manufacturing jobs, young mothers and women who can return to work
bringing up families.
“Call centre operators now offer
tremendous flexibility in working hours to
accommodate a wide range of personal circumstances.”
The potential for more people to work in
call centres was demonstrated by
the large number of enquiries about places on Peterborough’s pilot
centre training scheme, which was launched at the Peterborough ITeC
college in Vicarage Farm Road on 16 October. However, many of the
applicants did not match the scheme’s eligibility criteria and were
advice about other training opportunities.
The eight people who have enrolled come
from diverse employment backgrounds,
said ITeC joint general manager Margaret Young. They include lone
people who are returning to work after raising families and others who
been made redundant or have been unemployed for over six months.
The three-day per week course will result
in an RSA qualification and covers
computer skills training, customer service and telephone techniques,
practical experience at local call centres, confidence building and CV
Despite some negative publicity, call
centre operations are growing at 13 to
15 per cent annually, creating 38,000 jobs in 1999. The main operators
banking, insurance and financial services (21 per cent), telemarketing
outsourcing (18 per cent), local government and public sector
(14 per cent), telecommunications (seven per cent) and retail and mail
(seven per cent).