As a teenaged parent, Kyle McLean spent many of his early adult years focused solely on caring for his young son. He worked as a vehicle groomer and panel beater in Australia briefly, but was otherwise unemployed for around four years.
Attempting to pursue a career, Kyle completed a pre-trade training programme with a view to becoming an electrical apprentice, but wasn’t able to secure work in the field. He remembers it as a tough time,“I was almost hanging on to my last thread because I didn’t have a lot of work experience on my CV, so a lot of jobs that I applied for, I got turned down for that reason.” A case manager at Work & Income suggested an employment preparation course offered by Capital Training, designed for contact centre staff. The four-week programme is funded by the Ministry of Social Development (MSD), for Work & Income clients. Participants gain insights into working in a contact centre. The training includes customer service, conflict management, health and safety, computer navigation, preparing for interviews and much more.
Kyle’s partner had previously completed the programme with Capital Training and having gained work, was able to recommend it. He decided to give the course a go, encouraged by the idea of assisting others,“I like helping people. I can understand when you call up a big organisation and go through the queue, and get standard responses, it can be a bit frustrating. I wanted to give a level of customer service to people with a bit of humanity added into it, to make their day a bit easier and send them off with a smile.”
That said, he was unsure,“Before taking the course I had quite high levels of anxiety. I was quite introverted and reserved, and didn’t really like socialising with people. I was kind of looking for a job where I could put my head down and not speak to anybody - a bit unrealistic in today’s workforce!” But after just three weeks at Capital Training, Kyle says, “the course opened me up to letting people in, and learning how to hold conversations with people.”
He recalls something that his father would tell him as a young boy, when he was scared to do new things or hesitant to take a first step, “My Dad would say you can’t pull a rose if you don’t grab it by it’s thorns, and it just makes so much sense. It relates to nearly everything in life, and it stuck with me.”
Now, he is successfully employed full time as a Customer Service Consultant with ANZ, handling phone calls to help customers with their banking issues or direct them to the services they need. He says the skills he learned at Capital Training are being applied to his work daily, “I recently had a call with somebody who sounded quite annoyed to begin with. At the end of the call with me, they commented that I was the best service consultant they had spoken to in their 20 years of banking with ANZ, and it’s only my fourth week on the floor after my training. It was kind of a proud moment.”
Kyle says that conversations are so much easier now, and he has customer service on his CV along with other skills, “Capital Training not only helped me with my work issue, they helped me with a personal issue as well. I’m really thankful to Capital Training for being able to not only get me into a job, but bring me out of my shell to make my transition into work a lot easier. It was a huge hurdle for me and they helped me get over it easily. That was a massive thing that I took away from the course.”
As well, Kyle is more physically active now and manages his time well. He says, “Before, I kind of just sat at home and stared at the walls. But now I’ve got my job, I’ve got work mates and more.”
He describes a sense of normality, even enjoying the “adult stuff” in life like going to the supermarket on pay day, being able to pay bills, and being a better example for his son, “It’s good because my son didn’t really grow up seeing me go out working - I was mostly at home. Now, I feel like I’m teaching him good life lessons. He is seeing the work ethic, which is something I want him to learn.”
Being a person that his son can look up to, is important to Kyle. Looking back, he is pleased to have broken free from the treadmill he was on, “I wouldn’t really have moved much otherwise, in terms of development. But now, I’ve got all these skills, all of these new strategies to deal with anxiety and more, thanks to the course and the job.”
Just four weeks out of his training with ANZ, Kyle is already having conversations with his team leader about future prospects, with a view to moving into banking roles, “I’m going to see how far this job can take me.” For now, he is happy knowing that he is making a difference to other people’s lives, “Being able to come home knowing that I’ve either made someone’s day or made things a bit easier for them is great.” He even enjoys looking at his daily statistics,“Yesterday I took 67 calls and not a single one of them ended negatively. Being able to finish the day knowing that I helped that many people in one day, it was a great feeling.”
Kyle says his job is very different from anything anybody could have described or persuaded him to do. He encourages people to take a leap of faith, “Just do the course and let Capital Training help you to be something that you might not realise you can aspire to be. I never saw myself working for a bank at any point in my life, yet here I am. You never know where life can take you, and I would not have known that, if it wasn’t for the course. It has made life a whole lot more enjoyable, that’s for sure.”
Kyle says he can “absolutely” recommend the training programme, and contact sector work, to others, “Honestly, I love my job. It’s all I can say. I absolutely love my job!”