Our Respect campaign encourages everyone to ‘Respect Yourself’, ‘Respect the Community’, ‘Respect the Environment’ and ‘Respect People’.
Respect, in all its forms, may be something that you don’t often think about. Yet it is a crucial quality to develop in order to have effective relationships at college.
We recently heard from members of our Estates team, who spoke candidly about the importance of feeling respected at work.
Now we catch up with members of our Front of House team – as the first point of contact at the College – to get their perspective on the subject.
Starting the series is Carol Devine, who is a Front of House Assistant at Ayr.
To begin with, Carol explained what duties a Front of House Assistant performs at the College.
Carol said “It’s a varied role. Here at Ayr there are two reception desks that we can be working at, and we also have the mail room and print room.
“You never know what your day is going to be like at reception. It can be varied every day.
“We interact with students, staff and visitors on a daily basis, and we can be approached in different ways. A student could come to us looking for information or they could be upset and needing guidance. It’s our job to remain as professional as possible and support everyone who comes to us.”
Carol has been at Ayrshire College for 25 years, working in a part-time marketing role for two years before joining the Front of House team.
In that time she has seen major changes to the College.
“The expansion of the Ayr Campus to include the Riverside Building and the Aeronautical Engineering Training Centre was the first major development.
“Then there was the merger in 2013 of Ayr College, Kilmarnock College and the Kilwinning Campus of James Watt College.
“The organisation is much bigger now. In my role it is important that I know who everybody is. This can be difficult at times due to the size and location of the organisation and its location (East, North and South Ayrshire).
“I am continually learning every day which makes my role very interesting and different every day.”
Moving onto the subject of respect, Carol thinks for a moment before saying “I do feel respected.
“I think you have to give respect to gain respect back. I’m nice to the students and the staff, so they’re nice back to me.
“Of course there are issues. For example, staff need to let us know what time their visitors are due in, what room they’ve to go to, how many people are coming in, etc.
“If we don’t know about a visitor or event then we feel like we’re not doing our job to the best of our ability. If we can’t find the person they’re in to see, it reflects badly on us.
“As the first point of contact either by phone or face-to-face we have to be aware of the correct person or department to pass the enquiry on to and sometimes they can be quite frustrated but I feel it’s our role to try and elevate this by good communication and respect.
“I don’t think people should be taking out their frustrations on us. Although we do understand that they are not necessarily meaning to get at us.”
All in all though, Carol surmises that “everyone at the College is really nice.”