College move for call centre staff

BT is linking up with a further education college to launch a call centre
training facility.

Two per cent of the UK population is now said to work in call centres with
companies offering customers an ever-expanding array of services over the
phone.

The new training facility at Sheffield College will cater for up to 20
trainees at a time. The first intake is due to start the course in mid April.

Jim Moore, general manager of BT Education, said, "This facility
provides individuals with the core skills that a growing number of companies,
including BT, are seeking. It will mean a ready pool of potential staff trained
in the skills appropriate to call centre work."

Alan Biggin, senior manager at Sheffield College, said the software and
scripts used in the training will simulate the booking of air flights. But he
added, "The skills the trainees will learn will be readily transferable to
other business situations because the technology and principles involved will
be exactly the same."

Call centre operators have previously been criticised by unions for creating
a stressful environment for staff.

BT and the Communication Workers’ Union reached an agreement this year after
staff took strike action over what the union described as "heavy-handed
management".

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