When the BPO industry took off about 10 years ago and offered jobs to graduates, many young people treated it as a stopgap career opportunity, working with them for a few months or years and then moving on to more aspirational careers. This has changed as noted in the words of PG Raghuraman, lead executive for Accenture's Delivery Centres for BPO in India, 'Having seen this industry mature over the past eight to 10 years, today there is a focus given to the BPO sector and it is not just seen as an alternate opportunity but as a first option for young people.' Recognising this change in mindset, both Accenture and Genpact decided to give back to the industry in the form of training & education alliances with Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) and NIIT respectively. These alliances will aid all young people interested in BPO as a career and not just those pursuing careers with Accenture's and Genpact's BPOs.
The IGNOU tie-up offers students a six-month diploma through a central university under the ministry of human resource development, government of India. Either 12th graders or college graduates can avail this option. The programme is expected to be especially popular in Tier 2,3, and 4 cities. This programme will be available in approximately 44 centres spread over 27 cities with 90 faculty members especially trained to roll out the programme. The first batch is scheduled to start in February 2009. The idea is to make these young people readily employable at BPOs. The course will use classroom learning, self learning and eLearning tools, paying attention to both process and industry specialisation.