Infosys BPO, a division of Infosys Technologies, based in Bangalore, India, had devised and presented multiple training programs in the past, inside India, as well as in Asia, Australia, North and South America, and the U.K. In fact, as a leading information technology services firm in India, Infosys is renowned for its training. Its training campus in Mysore, India, is one of the largest corporate training facilities in the world.
But Infosys BPO was faced with a new and daunting challenge when it set about establishing a training program for prospective business process outsourcing workers in Egypt. The program, EduEgypt, embodied the Egyptian government's hope of boosting the economy of the North African country by training the country's university graduates for an industry new to Egypt.
With its first foray into the Middle East, Infosys had its work cut out for it. Cultural differences and even significant differences in English pronunciation created barriers to success. On top of that, the first group of candidates tested by Infosys BPO produced only a small percentage deemed ready for the program. English proficiency was minimal and understanding of the outsourcing industry was nearly nonexistent.
But the Infosys trainers dived right in and created a curriculum that was a proper fit for cultural expectations and students' capabilities. The next step was TTT—Train the Trainers—when a team of top Infosys trainers brought their Egyptian counterparts up to speed so that they could lead the training.
An integral part of the training was creating "stakeholders" in this new industry as a way of encouraging more students to take the plunge and head down this career path.
The first phase of EduEgypt was in 2007-08, when students at two universities focused on sharpening their English skills. By the fall of 2011, when 12 universities throughout Egypt were offering training in English and job skills, more than 30,000 graduates had already begun work with leading global firms in customer service, finance and accounting, tech support and data analysis.
"The project gave us an opportunity to work in a sphere where there was no prior exposure to the industry," says Vijay Colaco, EduEgypt's training project lead. "Both sides benefited significantly through the experience."
For its efforts in Egypt, Infosys is the 2011 winner of the Optimas Award for Corporate Citizenship.