Burnley Borough Council has a front line customer services department dealing face-to-face and over the telephone with a whole range of enquiries from the public; excellent management, communication and people skills are paramount and the council has been working with Intec to deliver a programme of NVQ training for its staff.
Customer service/resource manager Michelle Coogan has worked her way up the organisation with an NVQ Level 2 Team Leader qualification, then a Management Level 3 NVQ, and has now completed the senior Management Level 5 course.
‘I feel very proud of myself as I didn’t think I’d achieve a Level 5,’ says Michelle, whose Intec training has supported both her own professional development and the effective management of the council’s customer contact centre.
As one of two managers leading 30 staff between them, the course has helped Michelle to meet the challenges facing the department, including the peaks and troughs of enquiries, such as when council tax bills, reminders and summonses are sent out, and ensuring the correct staffing levels and expertise through recruitment and training.
‘It’s an evidence-based course which is good because it allows you to demonstrate what you can do and make sure it matches the standards expected,’ says Michelle. ‘There were sections of the assignments which reinforced what I do and then there were some elements where I thought I could put this into practice and I have adapted some aspects of my management style.
‘It has made me more thoughtful and mindful about what I do and how I do it; the support from Intec is excellent because it makes you think rather than it simply being a kick-box exercise.’
With first-hand experience of how gaining Intec qualifications can provide both a personal and professional boost, Michelle has inspired and encouraged many staff in the department to follow in her footsteps and likewise enhance their skills through Intec’s customer services, team leader, business and management courses.
‘Providing a learning environment gives staff a sense of value, purpose and belonging, which in turn increases everyone’s morale and reduces staff turnover,’ says Michelle. ‘It makes for a better work climate. You spend more waking hours of the day at work with your colleagues than you do at home and I think that via training and promoting good values people become more supportive and tolerant of each other. We have a very harmonious team.’