People's Stories | Chrissy Mackay

Sector

Tourism

Training Pathway

National Certificate in First Line Management - Level 4

It’s made me more flexible and it’s given me the knowledge that I didn’t have, which I would have eventually gained - but it’s sped up my learning of how to be a manager.

When Chrissy Mackay started at KEA Campers as a junior detailer (campervan cleaner) she never imagined she would be managing the team within four short years.

Chrissy returned to the workforce in 2007 with limited work experience. Since leaving school she had been focussed on being a mum, so was late in starting her career.

“I’d done odd jobs, but nothing too intense during that time. I certainly wasn’t expecting to be where I am now when I started four years ago.

“I did go to university. I did one semester, but then my husband and I separated and I was left with four children to look after. I probably could have carried on but it just would have been so hard and my youngest at that stage was still in nappies. So I stopped. “

Chrissy put her hand up to complete *ServiceIQ’s Customer Service Award soon after she started at KEA, while she was training in the customer service team. This Limited Credit Programme (LCP) gave her the kick-start she needed and helped her gain her current role as KEA Campers’ Housekeeping Manager.

With a team of around 10 staff and no prior management experience, Chrissy jumped at the chance to enrol in ServiceIQ’s National Certificate in First Line Management.

“My job, I think, first and foremost is to lead a successful team and to keep them happy. The job here is a difficult one and it takes a certain type of person to work out in the campervan bay and still be a happy worker,” she says.

“It’s about trying to keep that balance of being sympathetic to their needs and still getting the job done, which is challenging but through ServiceIQ I’ve actually learnt a lot that has helped me manage that.

“When I say my team is the backbone of this company I’m deadset serious, but they’re hard girls, so they’re straight up and all the rest of it. Dealing with whatever issues and conflicts they have, I have to deal with them differently to what I would if I was in customer service or if I was duty manager, simply because of the people that work out there.“

As well as resolving conflict and dealing with her team, the training has helped her manage day-to-day aspects of her job, such as running meetings.

“It’s made me more flexible and it’s just given me the knowledge that I didn’t have, that I would have eventually gained but it’s sped up my learning of how to be a manager.”

KEA provides a supportive training environment, with National Operations Manager Tamara Schuerlein encouraging staff at all levels to work towards *ServiceIQ qualifications.

Chrissy says regular study groups with others in the organisation was a huge help and made the study more enjoyable. Sharing knowledge with other supervisors and managers also helped broaden her perspective and better understand other departments in the business.

Balancing work, family and study has been a challenge, particularly as Chrissy’s job can mean long days and hard work, but she says ServiceIQ's support has helped.

“Jenny Osborn [*ServiceIQ's Trainee and Modern Apprentice Mentor] is fantastic. She helps make it easy. If I have queries I know that I can just email Jenny and she gets straight back to me, so there’s help there and Jenny tries to guide us as best she can. She certainly does help take the pressure off.”

Training and being given the opportunity to take on a management role has given Chrissy the confidence to move forward in her career at KEA. She says she doesn’t know where she’ll go next, but she is definitely looking for more challenges.

*1 January 2013 the Aviation, Tourism and Travel Training Organisation (ATTTO), the Hospitality Standards Institute (HSI) and Retail Institute (RI) merged, transforming into ServiceIQ - the service-based Industry Training Organisation (ITO) for the aviation, tourism, travel, retail, wholesale and hospitality industries.