In our second Sector Spotlight on Orkney Islands Council, we hear from Cheryl Moar who is an Administrative Assistant with Orkney Islands Council.
After leaving school at 16, Cheryl went straight into employment as she knew she didn’t want to live away from Orkney. She worked in various jobs before getting married and having children. After 12 years in her previous job, she was ready for a change and moved into her current role with Orkney Islands Council, which has given her the opportunity to develop her skills and gain additional qualifications.
Can you describe a typical day in your role as Administrative Assistant?
Every day is different, and I have certain tasks to do on certain days. These can range from answering the phone and sorting the mail, to requesting travel or taking minutes. Petty cash tins have to be balanced and repairs requested. I love the fact my job is so varied. There is never a quiet moment!
How did you end up in this role?
I got on well at school and enjoyed my time there but after meeting a boy (who then turned out to be my husband) at 16 years old, I knew that Uni/College or a life away from Orkney wasn’t for me. I worked a few different jobs throughout the years, and had got married, bought a house, and had two children but I have always known I wanted more and could do more. I worked in my previous job for 12 years, but I needed a change, I needed a new challenge. When I got the job within the council I was so delighted, my sisters clubbed together to get me a posh laptop bag! I am now nearly three years into the role and have recently passed my CMI First Line Management course within Orkney College UHI. I am currently doing the second part, Improving Team Performance, and I NEVER thought I would go back to college but with help from my supervisor and funding from OIC I want to keep doing courses, keep improving, keep finding these opportunities for me to better myself and to be better for my kids. I work three jobs, have two young children and do college so I am a busy lady, but I love it and I am so grateful for all the opportunities that come my way.
What is the best thing about your job?
I think the fact that every day is different and we have a good group of admin colleagues within the different teams so we all look out for each other and get on well.
What is the worst thing about your job?
If I am being honest, it’s the communication – we have to talk to each other in my role and keep each other aware of situations but really I can’t emphasise how much I do enjoy my job and for folks that know me, know I don’t do negativity!
What skills do you need to undertake your role?
You need to work as part of team, but you also need to be able to work on your independently. Good communication and listening skills. You need to be flexible as things can change and you must be able to work to deadlines. You need to have good customer service, being polite and friendly for when answering the phone or responding to emails.
What qualifications do you have?
I have no official qualifications. I however have Standard Grades and a Higher. As stated, I am now completing courses at Orkney College.
Would you recommend this job to young people, if so why?
Yes, I would highly recommend this job, I love my job and I feel very grateful to be a part of our team. There are opportunities within the job that I haven’t been offered before too. I think you should keep dreaming and keep hoping and always strive to be the best you can be.
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