Meet our Contact Centre graduate: Alicia
Kindergarten Teacher - Child, Takapuna
Contact Centre Training, Contact Centre Operations – Level 3, Solomon Group
As a chemistry teacher with a master’s degree, Alicia has spent more time in the classroom than most. But she says none of it has been quite so rewarding as the 12 weeks spent studying contact centre at Solomon Group.
Tell us a bit about yourself. I moved to New Zealand from South Africa four years ago with my husband and two kids. Back in South Africa I was a chemistry teacher, but because I don’t have New Zealand qualifications or experience it has been difficult to get a job here. That’s been my barrier.
You are highly qualified. What inspired you to enrol at Solomon Group? I did this course because it was challenging and something a bit different. I’m really community-focussed, and this provided an opportunity to get involved in customer service and connect with the community.
What aspects of the programme did you most enjoy? The staff here have a passion for empowering people. That’s something that I am passionate about too. Coming to a new country, there are a lot of challenges and you have to upskill, understand the culture and apply yourself to different environments. Solomon Group has boosted my confidence and taught me a lot about diversity and social norms in New Zealand. I’ve learnt about Maori and Pacific Island cultures and my computer skills have improved considerably. I’ve also graduated with an awesome CV. When I first arrived in New Zealand I paid a professional to create a CV that would appeal to Kiwi employers, but it was no good. The Solomon Group helped me redo my CV for free and it’s amazing!
I’ve learnt so much studying here, and of all the classes I’ve ever taken, the tutor of this course was the best. In fact, she inspired me to change my own teaching philosophy. The training she delivered was practical not theoretical, which really supported my learning because I’m a visual learner. The support students receive here is exceptional, and it’s not just professional development, but also personal development. For example, I always thought I was good with money, but my tutor has taught me so many new strategies for better managing my money. It’s so empowering. I have gained so much more than just contact centre knowledge through studying here.
What was the campus atmosphere like? This place makes me excited - in fact I’m still blown away by the ambience. The staff are very upbeat and always have a smile. There is real enthusiasm here, and when you are facing struggles or any kind of challenge, that’s what you need. It’s very welcoming.
You had the opportunity to work in the Auckland Council contact centre after graduating from this course. Why didn’t you take it? I was always intending to become a CSR (Customer Services Representative), but the week before my course finished I was offered a great job as a kindergarten teacher. It was a real turnaround! I am passionate about looking for pathways for children to develop, so this role really appeals. I will still use all the skills I’ve learned on this course and am looking forward to the opportunity to engage with parents. The kindy I’ll be working for is part of a large organisation and they have their own contact centre, so the option is always there for me to move into a CSR role at a later date.