CHAPTER 8. SKILLS DEVELOPMENT AND YOUNG WOMEN’S WORK IN THE CALL CENTRE INDUSTRY IN SOUTH AFRICA

This chapter presents findings from qualitative focus group discussions and individual interviews exploring skills development for young women working as agents in call centres in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

Study participants questioned the ability of call centers to promote technical skills development. This was primarily because more emphasis was put on the development of “people skills” than on technical or digital skills, irrespective of the technological systems in use.


Training formats for key competencies varied from organization to organization and could include memorizing scripts; basic keyboard skills, including word processing and speed typing; communication skills of pronunciation, phone etiquette, and voice demeanor. Some participants indicated that training consisted primarily of hands-on experience on the shop floor.


The skills developed in call centres were generally specific to work in call centres and not transferable to other work. Few leadership positions were available, and there was a lack of personal growth.

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