I have met some interesting people with very strong personalities in my time. I have met people who travel the world with a camera, I have met shark scientists and I have met guerrilla activists who sail the seas to stop whaling. These people all have one thing in common, they have a drive to do what is right and they let nothing stand in their way. Polly has this same trait and she has used it to turn her life around.
Fresh out of prison with no job, no hope, an extensive criminal background, her photo up in supermarkets around the region identifying her as a thief and with Youth Services having recently taken her children away, Polly was at rock bottom. Personally, this would have broken me. I would have given up on having any sort of meaningful life. It is a testament to Polly’s outstanding personal strength that she didn’t give up. Polly made a conscious decision to turn her life around and make a brighter future for herself.
The first step was to talk to her Work and Income Case Manager about finding a suitable place to train in order to get a job anywhere, doing anything. Polly had this deep gnawing anxiety that with her criminal record and having spent time in prison, no one would give her a chance. This was a valid concern as well; let’s be honest, as a society we do tend to judge people for what they have done and it can be near impossible to find work after going through the prison system. Polly’s Case Manager found her a few courses that really had no impact on Polly, that is until she was recommended to Capital Training.
When I met with Polly on a rainy Thursday morning over coffee and scones, she described herself as having been mischievous, emotionally closed off from the world and hating any form of public communication. I personally didn’t believe this as during our coffee fuelled chat Polly seemed friendly, open and a very good communicator. I asked her how she transitioned from being closed emotionally and actively avoiding public speaking or communication with strangers, to being this open and friendly woman talking about her past to me over coffee.
I believe that Polly is the main factor in her personal growth. However, Polly points to her time attending a Training For Work Course at Capital Training as giving her the tools and confidence to not only find employment and the skills needed for employment, but to open up to a group of people about her past and in turn find a warm friendly place where she could grow and develop as a person.
Being in the Marketing department for Capital Training, I was chuffed to bits when Polly said this as I could go around saying that Capital Training had changed this person’s life. I could go around saying that the Training for Work team were miracle workers who had given Polly the tools to succeed, set her up with an interview for a job and done an awesome job all round. While this is all true, the team trained Polly, developed her interviewing and employment skills, built her confidence in public speaking, taught her how to work in a contact centre and set her up with a job, it was Polly herself that was the catalyst for her success.
Capital Training could have given Polly every opportunity in the world, but if it wasn’t for her decision to change her life, and her dedication to grow personally and professionally, that training would have been in vain. True, we helped Polly succeed and provided a warm atmosphere where she was able to open up and make some lasting friendships (she regularly meets up with her old classmates) but it was Polly, with her dedication and work ethic, who used those tools to get where she is now.
And just where is Polly now? Polly works at a leading contact centre in Wellington. Polly isn’t just working at a contact centre though, she is thriving there. She loves the work and is very good at it. Since starting her career in May 2016, she has become a team leader and was recently named ‘Agent of the Year’. Let’s put that into perspective, Polly was named as the best person in her organisation over the span of an entire year. That is an amazing achievement. This is an outcome of her hard work and perseverance. Perseverance? Yes, apparently the first few months in the job were awful, just terrible, but she stuck it out and is now a leader and is someone that is looked up to.
As we were talking about Polly’s job and the intricacies of what she does and how she leads a team, I was really impressed by Polly’s desire to upskill and inspire those in her team. Polly seems to be a natural born leader and has really come in to her own. Polly has come a long way since early 2016 when life was at its darkest. Polly has a great amount of personal mana and has certainly earned not only this writer's respect, but the respect of everybody at Capital Training. We all wish Polly well in the future and we know that the sky is the limit.