The final Staff Focus from OHAL’s takeover of our social media pages is from Leanne Omand, Customer Service Assistant.
After leaving school at the end of sixth year, Leanne initially struggled to find a permanent job, before starting work as a Shop Assistant. After a couple of years, she saw a Modern Apprenticeship opportunity with OHAL’s administrative team and was successful in applying for the job. During her time with OHAL she completed her SVQ Level 2 and Level 3 Modern Apprenticeship before being offered a permanent role with the organisation. Leanne believes that a Modern Apprenticeship is a great way to get the skills and experience you need to start your career.
Can you describe a typical day in your job?
I have a wide range of duties as part of my role at Orkney Housing Association (OHAL). A large part of my day-to-day duties involve speaking to our customers, whether that be by phone, email, Facebook messenger or in person. This could be taking rent payments, providing housing information and advice or taking messages for other members of staff. My other main duties include processing and assessing housing applications and providing admin support to our Housing Services Officers and sometimes other departments too.
How did you end up in this role?
When I left school in sixth year, I went straight into work as a seasonal Housekeeper. Then, after a long spell of unemployment as I could not secure a job, I started work as a Shop Assistant. After being there for a couple of years, an opportunity was advertised by OHAL for a Modern Apprentice to join their administrative team. I applied and was successful. Luckily when my initial contract was coming to an end, a permanent position became available at the Association, so I applied and was again successful. Now, four years later, I’m still here loving my job and it all started with a Modern Apprenticeship.
What is the best thing about your job?
The best part of my job is feeling as though I am making a difference to the people I speak to. My job can be very rewarding at times as it’s a great feeling to come off a call with someone and feeling as though I have helped that person, even in some small way like giving them information or advice.
What is the worst thing about your job?
Speaking to people can also be the most challenging part of my job. We are dealing with people’s homes, living situations and their money and all of these can be sensitive subjects to some people. This can lead to difficult conversations sometimes which can be hard for both us and the people we are speaking to.
What skills do you need to undertake your role?
For my role, having good communication skills in vital. This includes having a general friendly and polite manner and being non-judgemental and respectful of others. Other important skills include good computer skills, good literacy and numeracy, having knowledge of Microsoft packages and being self-motivated as this will help you to produce the high quality of work which will be expected. You should also be comfortable working as part of a team but also on your own.
What qualifications do you have?
From secondary school, I achieved three grades at Higher level which included Admin and English, the rest were either Intermediate Two level or Standard Grades. I never attended further education until my Modern Apprenticeship at OHAL. I completed my SVQ2 in Business and Admin and was later given the opportunity to complete my SVQ3 as well. OHAL recently give me the opportunity to complete a housing specific course at level three, which I have now passed too.
Would you recommend this job to young people, if so why?
Yes. I would 100% recommend this job to any young person interested in an admin based job. It’s a great way to develop your skills and I know it has boosted my confidence in both my abilities and speaking to others. I would in fact recommend modern apprenticeships in any field as it is a great way to get the skills and experience you need to start your career.
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