Students light up the call centre

A building at Unitec has been set aside for the IBM and Concentrix Delivery Centre

A dashboard on the wall of the IBM Delivery Centre lights up, registering the number of incoming calls and the time taken to answer them. The call centre, based at the Unitec Institute of Technology in Auckland, is busy but its staff are operating with calmness and professionalism.

The Unitec students are working alongside full-timers and gaining valuable experience in customer service as they take calls and handle inquiries for three major corporates.

Technology and innovation company Concentrix, owned by American multi-national Synnex Corporation, became a strategic partner with IBM, and together they have developed a delivery centre at Unitec that builds skills and capability in Auckland.

Unitec students are recruited for part-time work that fits in with their studies, giving them the opportunity to gain valuable workplace experience that could give them a head-start in the competitive job market when they graduate.

The move is applauded by ATEED, which has developed a partnership with Unitec in helping to grow a talented workforce.

The students are studying a variety of courses including management, nursing, animal science, computing, information technology and trades, and they make up 60 per cent of the workforce in the delivery centre, which opened in February 2013.

The students were trained by IBM to handle all enquiries, provide support to customers and deliver technical programming expertise for the delivery centre clients.

Jay Curtis, IBM Unitec Programme Manager, says that "as full training is provided for roles within the delivery centre, we look for students with great communication skills and customer service ability, which opens up opportunities to all students across the campus.''

The students have developed services-oriented skills and have gained the confidence and maturity to be successful in the workplace.

Susan McGregor Bevan
Relationship Manager at Unitec



Unitec Relationship Manager, Susan McGregor Bevan, says the students have taken the work opportunities very seriously. "They have developed services-oriented skills and have gained the confidence and maturity to be successful in the workplace. These students have credible work experience to put on their CVs.’’

Some students have already been lucky to secure full-time employment, either with or through IBM, following their work in the delivery centre. ``The benefit for delivery centre clients is that they can work with the students to help hone the skills they need in the people they want to hire,'' says Jay Curtis.

IBM is supporting first degree and post-graduate students at Unitec by funding a number of Success Scholarships, worth a total $50,000 in 2013. In addition, IBM has established a mentoring programme for the scholarship recipients, who are enrolled in IT, business management, finance and communication courses.

IBM staff are also involved in guest lectures, tutorials and industry-based learning  programmes.

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