Talking Tayside - Susan Sidey Takes the Reins as Chair
Taking Tayside, Tayside’s innovative contact centre forum, has a new chair - Susan Sidey. “During my two-year tenure, I’ll be focusing on ensuring Talking Tayside continues to go from strength to strength,” said Susan, who has worked in the contact centre industry for almost 21 years.
“Since being established by Dundee City Council in 2000, this public-private partnership has successfully fulfilled its aims of developing and promoting the local contact centre industry. As chair, I want to push Talking Tayside forward by reinforcing and developing our community and our industry.
“The contact centre industry has a positive image across Tayside, where it has become a significant employer, with many major national companies and government agencies having contact centres here - and having joined Talking Tayside. By working together and sharing best practice, Talking Tayside’s members have gained an excellent reputation as service providers and employers, which helps ensure a highly-skilled, motivated workforce and also helps attract new contact centres to the area.
“As chair, I want to motivate our members to do even more. I want there to be more opportunities for Talking Tayside and its members to highlight the fantastic opportunities available in the contact centre industry. I want to increase the number of opportunities available for members to come together and discuss what works for them and what doesn’t. And, of course, I want to get more contact centres on board so Talking Tayside can provide them with its invaluable assistance and support.”
Susan explained that Talking Tayside’s members currently include contact centres for multinationals such as Tesco, BT and SSE, government agencies including Jobcentre Plus and HMRC, local contact centre specialists such as Journeycall and also small contact centres such as Caledonia Housing Association. “Ideally, I’d like all contact centres in the Tayside area to be part of Talking Tayside,” said Susan, who started at GA’s Dundee office in 1992 and is now Operations Manager at Aviva’s National Trading Centre in Perth, which has been a member of Talking Tayside for several years. “I’ve always been extremely impressed by the strong sense of partnership working which exists between the members of Talking Tayside and how this has contributed to the development and profile of the industry.”
Susan added that the annual Talking Tayside Awards are a highly effective method of highlighting the excellent of the local contact centre industry. “These awards, which are presented every November, are also really good for the morale of the participating contact centres,” said Susan. “At the 2012 awards, one of our newest members, SSE, was recognised as Contact Centre of the Year, which gave every member of their team such a boost.”
Susan stressed that one of the most important aspects of Talking Tayside’s work is ensuring a constant source of potential employees with the right skills and attitudes. “Thanks to partnership working between Talking Tayside, Jobcentre Plus and Dundee College, a three-week course provides people who are keen to work in the local contact centre industry with an insight into what this involves and a chance to obtain any necessary skills,” said Susan. “In addition, Talking Tayside’s about to start working with Abertay University to provide students with information about the excellent opportunities provided by the contact centre industry.
“We also need to encourage school pupils to consider working in a contact centre as a career option which they work towards and plan subject choices around. We already do a lot of work with 4th, 5th and 6th year pupils but we need to start earlier,” added Susan.
“I’ve always found the contact centre industry to be dynamic, pioneering and exciting and, as chair of Talking Tayside, I am delighted to have the opportunity to be so closely involved in supporting and developing it.”
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1st March 2013