Meet our Contact Centre graduate: Amanda
Customer Service Representative, Auckland Council
Contact Centre Training, Contact Centre Operations – Level 3 - Solomon Group
Amanda has been a stay-at-home mum for 16 years. During that time, she has applied for hundreds of jobs, without success. But now, thanks to Solomon Group’s 12-week Contact Centre Training course run in collaboration with Auckland Council, she’s got a bright new career and a whole heap of confidence.
What were you doing before coming to Solomon Group? I left school at 15, got pregnant at 16, and have been a stay-at-home mum ever since. I apply for jobs all the time – things like reception and front-of-house – but usually I don’t even get a response from employers. It can be pretty disheartening. I must have applied for thousands of jobs over the years and I’ve done a few courses, but I still can’t get work because employers want people with experience. It gets boring staying at home all the time, plus as a single mum it’s a struggle financially. I do everything I can to save money – I’ve disconnected the landline, stopped my Chrisco hampers, and only buy the basics. My kids haven’t had new clothes for years.
Was the course worthwhile? Absolutely. I loved it. My confidence was a zero when I started and now it’s an eight. It might even be heading towards a ten! I am a shy person, and when I started this course I wouldn’t say anything in class or put my hand up. But everyone here is so supportive and encouraging, so I began to gain confidence. Everyone has noticed the change in me. Even people outside of school say I am more confident and happy. When people start noticing that, it makes me feel better about myself.
I’ve learnt so much about myself on this course – and I’ve realised that I can achieve so much more than I ever imagined.
Did you spend the entire 12 weeks in the classroom? No, we got out and about a lot as well, with site visits to different contact centres where we were buddied up with their CSRs and got to listen in on phone calls and look at their different systems. We also made lots of trips to the Auckland Council, including for our assessments, interviews, role plays and IT navigation tests.
How did you get on with those? I didn’t realise I’d done that well, but it turned out I was only the second person ever in council history to get 100 % in the IT navigation test! I also got the highest score for my roleplay. That really boosted my confidence and reminded me I must stop second guessing myself and putting myself down.
Tell us about your new job. I’m a CSR for Auckland Council based in Manukau. They start us off in waste management, and then once we are confident there, they move us into other areas. There are so many opportunities here. You can branch out into lots of different departments. My goal is to learn everything first and then work my way up to team leader. Eventually I’d like to join the quality assurance team.
How much does it mean to you to finally have a job? It means a lot. I really want to be a good role model for my kids. When other kids ask them what their mum does, I don’t want them to have to say, “my mum doesn’t do anything”. They were so pleased when I told them about the job and my mum cried. She phoned up everyone she knew, she was so proud!