In our next Staff Focus from Orkney Housing Association Ltd., we hear from Fraser Devine, Manager for Orkney Care and Repair.
When he left school, Fraser initially wanted to work in hospitality so studied for a BA in Hospitality, Business Management and Tourism at Napier University. After University, he took on a temporary role in a music store, which became permanent and eventually saw him promoted to Team Leader then Assistant Manager. A move to Woolworths as a Team Leader followed, and he worked for the company for 17 years in stores across Scotland, finishing up as Manager of the Woolworths in Kirkwall for 11 years, until the business went into administration. Fraser then moved into the Third Sector working for VAO for nine years, before becoming Manager at Skaill House. In 2019, he started with Care and Repair in his current role.
Can you describe a typical day in your job?
No two days are really the same, and you don’t often have a typical day.
Some of the things I do on a daily basis are as follows:
How did you end up in this role?
When I left School, I wanted to work in Hospitality. I went to Napier and studied a BA in Hospitality, Business Management and Tourism.
During my third year I was lucky enough to go and work in EPCOT Centre in Walt Disney World Florida as a cultural rep in the UK pavilion!
After leaving Napier - with my Degree and a Diploma in Marketing, I tried to get a job in marketing - but was very difficult to break into.
I worked in a music store as a Christmas temp (much to my Mum and Dad’s dismay!), after six months I was promoted to team leader and then to Assistant Manager.
After a couple of years, I went to work at the new Woolworths store which was opened in Dundee as Team Leader of the Entertainment Department. After a year, I was promoted to Assistant Manager and then to Manager. I have worked all over Scotland in various stores but was the manager of the Kirkwall Branch for nearly 11 years. I worked for Woolworths for 17 years until it went into administration in 2008.
After that I went to work in the Third Sector, at VAO delivering and managing services and projects in Orkney. I did that for nine years till the post came to an end in 2017.
After that I worked at Skaill House as the Manager there for 18 months which ironically saw me working in Tourism which was what I first wanted to work in.
In December 2018, I saw an advert in the paper looking for a manger for Care and Repair. I applied for this and was lucky to be successful. I started this role in March 2019 and have been working here since.
What is the best thing about your job?
I love the variety of things I do, but the main thing I guess is being able to help people and then seeing the work you have done has helped them and improved their day to day living. It is a really rewarding job, to help and support people to remain living in their own home as long as they possibly can.
What is the worst thing about your job?
Not being able to help everyone. We don’t have pots and pots of money to help people and sometimes we struggle to help; particularly with the repairs side of the service.
What skills do you need to undertake your role?
First and foremost, you need to be a people person, you need to be able to communicate with people at all levels. You need patience and empathy to understand the situation our clients find themselves in.
You also need to be able to communicate with all members of your team, wider colleagues, partner agencies and services.
You need to have a good memory, be a good planner/organier and be able to juggle lots of things at once.
Definitely good communication within the team, and as a manager make sure all the staff are managed and supported appropriately.
What qualifications do you have?
Degree in Hospitality Tourism and Business Management from Napier University.
Diploma in Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing.
Would you recommend this job to young people, if so why?
Absolutely, it wouldn’t be a first job for someone, but once you’ve had a few years’ experience in management, and the delivery of services, it is a super job for anyone, with the right skills and approach.
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