“There is good support from colleagues from all around the country” – Rosemary McKenna, Clerical Officer

April 26, 2024

I’m working in the Contact Centre on the customer service line. I deal with queries from Members, who may be in rent arrears, and looking to speak to their Income Specialist. If I can’t get through to the relevant person, I take their details and as much information as possible on the call to log them on the system. In many cases, Members want to check what their rent balance is, so I go through their statement and transactions with them, as some get confused between credit and debit on their account. In this job, there’s a need to problem solve and to employ good people skills. Sometimes people can be frustrated when it comes to rent, or delays on payments coming in from banks or the post office, so you often need to explain why this might be. If there are any issues with regards to anti-social behaviour, we complete a report using a template to document it and then pass this on to the Safer Neighbourhoods team to, who then do their best to solve any issues.

I used to be a Clerical Officer for Housing Services and Community Engagement but moved as part of the restructuring process. I did a lot of scanning, calls, some registration with the RTB and processing of rent reviews, until the end of August 2023 when I moved to the Contact Centre. My role has changed, we now are responsible for managing the info email address and get a lot of general queries from Members, new tenant nominees, developers and media.

There is good support from colleagues from all around the country and colleagues  assist as best they can. I get good job satisfaction from solving queries or passing them to the right person. There’s good camaraderie and support from colleagues in Avondale. You know who to go to; there’s plenty of training and colleagues are very good with their time. There’s a great range of experience. We have had two rounds of CST (Customer Service Training), we’ve also had training on invoices, work orders, and so on. There is a lot of goodwill and support from colleagues and Managers.

I’m a qualified librarian. The recession changed a lot and meant most library work became contract work instead of permanent. The budget was cut for anything they thought was unnecessary, and the sector was badly affected. I applied for administrative roles and got a job with Holocaust Education Ireland where I worked for five years. We created educational programmes using the Holocaust as an example of what racism and xenophobia can lead to at an extreme. We organised the annual national Holocaust Memorial Day Memorial. I was responsible for organising trips to schools around the country for Tomi Reichental, a Holocaust survivor. He went twice a week, every week, around the country to speak at schools about his experience of the Holocaust. I organised his travel arrangements and schedule. We had exhibitions which travelled around the country too. We ran a teacher’s programme in conjunction with Trinity College Dublin, and they went on study visits to Auschwitz, Krakow and Yad Vashem. My colleagues and I went with them one year to visit the sites and attend lectures. It was very intense, but an incredible experience. We also ran the Crocus Project across ten countries in Europe. I liaised with different schools and universities, we would prepare crocus bulbs and teacher packs in different languages. The children would plant the bulbs in September, and they would bloom in time for Holocaust Memorial Day to remember the children who perished. This represented a softer way to educate children on the Holocaust and WWII. The Crocus Project spanned ten countries in Europe including Ireland, Bulgaria, Poland, Malta, with tens of thousands of children taking part.

I always wanted to go back to libraries, so when the economy picked up, I applied for a School Librarian role in Kuwait in the Middle East. I worked there for two years with children aged three to nineteen. It was a great work experience, I used to take seven 40-minute classes a day and helped Students and Staff access learning resources. The Students loved storytelling and borrowing books from the Library. I had an annual budget for library resources and assisted in various events across the schools. I showed Students how the library worked, for example, how to use dictionaries and databases. The first time I held a Library class for a large group of three year old students, I gave them each a sensory book and when I turned around most of them had dropped them because they didn’t have the motor skills to hold them! I had to go back to basics; it was a steep learning curve. Working with children, they can ask you anything including request for books on parrots, kittens, and Mo’ Salah. Living in a different culture for a couple of years gave me a deeper understanding of a different culture and great life experience. I travelled a lot while living abroad and made friends for life. I came home a few years ago to be close to my family. In my current role I deal with a lot of Members from the Middle East and South-East Asia, my experience abroad has given me a broader understanding of different cultures and of those who don’t have English as a first language.

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