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Teaching kids to work in a call centre dunbing down or practical preparation for life!

(19 Posts)
twinsetandpearls Mon 23-Jul-07 11:27:11

Read this article in the guardian this morning, and have mixed feelings about it as I teach in a school that has a srong vocational element to it as that serves the needs of our community - we teach hairdressing, childcare, painting and decorating, mechanics and horticulture - we are about to add catering and hotel hospitality. But is training kids to work in a call centre a step to low?

twinsetandpearls Mon 23-Jul-07 11:28:53

sorry here is the article

Boredveryverybored Mon 23-Jul-07 11:29:06

I'm not sure, it would certainly come in handy. I've worked in call centres a few times over the years when I've been needing to earn money. Not as a career move iykwim.

twinsetandpearls Mon 23-Jul-07 11:30:24

But for some kids it would be a career move, For me I would not want to do hairdressing, childcare, painting and decorating etc as a career but they are seen as valid.

MrsBadger Mon 23-Jul-07 11:32:30

I freely admit I have no experience of working in a call centre, but can it be so hard that you need to start learning about it at school?
All the other things you mention (except maybe 'hotel hospitality' because I don't actually know what that entails) sound like the kind of jobs where you need to learn actual skills before you start and school is obviously a great place to do this.
But what will they teach in call-centre classes?

ThestralFeet Mon 23-Jul-07 11:34:45

surely it can be learned on the job?

Why does it have to be taught at school? Are they also taught how to operate tills or stack pallets in a factory?

Most odd imo

Hairdressing, childcare, mechanics etc all useful skills for careers with a future, and interesting for children to learn, but call centres??

Boredveryverybored Mon 23-Jul-07 11:36:27

I agree actually. Working in a call centre is not something that takes a lot of training. Any time I've done it I've had a week or so's training when I first started, each call centre is different obviously, you could be dealing with anything from bank customers to technical problems.
You'd need to learn whatever was needed in each centre regardless, I can't actually think of what they would be teaching at school tbh

twinsetandpearls Mon 23-Jul-07 11:38:04

Our school will be sending studenst to work in a hotel, having never worked in ahotel I don't know what that entail - I am sure it is not called hotel hospitality - I just couldn't think if the name.

The long term plan is for the school to run a hotel that the kids work in.

I can say that for the kids I teach they would need training to work in a call centre as they lack the skills which would be needed to answer the phone and talk to people in a proffessional manner. Many of the kids we send out on work experince find the greatest hurdle is phoning up their workplace or answering the phone - am not sure how you could stretch it out to a full course though.

EscapeFrom Mon 23-Jul-07 11:39:56

Can I point out that someone has to do these jobs? And teaching people that the trainingfor them is somehow beneath them, only for them to be unable to do the job if they get it, is likely to be unhelpful to their self esteem?

And no, it may not be a career move to you, but to a 16 year old school leaver with an IQ of 80, the chance to pick up £4.50 an hour while his friends are stuck on £30 a week because they can't get a job so are stuck on a college course they neither like nor understand might be the best chance he will get at his age - and the advantage of already being able to do it will give him a better chance of gettting tyhe job.

MrsBadger Mon 23-Jul-07 11:41:38

You're spot on - whatever job you do you (hairdressing, childcare, plumbing, whatever) you need to be able to answer the phone in a professional manner, so I suppose that should be part of any and every vocational course, like knowing about tax and NI and VAT and stuff.

Actually, do they get taught any of this?

jacl Mon 23-Jul-07 11:42:07

I spent several years working in call centres and while it is not a career I decided to stay with it definitely has some advantages. I was a shy person when I left college and lacked in self confidence. Call centre work definitely teaches you to be more out going and it really boosted my confidence.
I am a bit annoyed at the attitude 'How difficult can it be?' Whether people agree with cold calling and telephone sales or not there is definitely a skill to it. All call centre work is not about ringing up harassing people. Think about if you need to contact someone about car insurance or things like that chances are you are speaking to someone in a call centre.
I think it can be a good entrance into a work place enviornment. A lot of employers don't want to hire young people who have no experience so everyone has to start somewhere.

chopchopbusybusy Mon 23-Jul-07 11:42:35

I have mixed feelings about this. One of my concerns is the link to one individual company. Think of the uproar if the catering course had a connection to a burger chain for example. I think it could teach some good useful things like telephone skills and bring IT skills to life in a workplace. I'm not sure that I view it as any different to teaching childcare or hairdressing TBH.

EscapeFrom Mon 23-Jul-07 11:43:31

I probably could have done with some punctation there, feel free to add your own.

twinsetandpearls Mon 23-Jul-07 11:43:48

we teach about tax ,NI in our PSHE lessons, it probably is covered in the voactional lessons as well though.

twinsetandpearls Mon 23-Jul-07 11:46:52

lol at the fact I can't spell dumbing down!

islandofsodor Mon 23-Jul-07 20:13:18

I spent many years working in a call centre too, mostly incoming class though some outgoing.

A lot of people have an appalling telephone manner. Coming across clearly and consisely on the phone is a very useful skill in all jobs.

There are many graduate call centre jobs these days. I now run my own business and my call centre days are valuable experience for me.

southeastastra Mon 23-Jul-07 20:14:48

bring back national service

Hallgerda Tue 24-Jul-07 20:23:20

A call centre would be more accessible to secondary school pupils than jobs that would take more training. It might be easier to give them a more real experience of what working is like through a call centre than, say, by following a senior manager around. I can see chopchopbusybusy's point, but surely it would apply to any work experience that involved real companies - a call centre is likely to give a warts-and-all view of the company's business and may not leave the pupils keen to buy the company's product. So, no, I wouldn't have a problem with it.

Blandmum Tue 24-Jul-07 20:28:05

Depends on the kids. If this would be stretching them (and I teach a fair few would find this quite demanding) then fair game.

Some of the kids I teach would find getting up on time, organising getting to work, being polite to the callers, dealing with the call in an approriate way exceptionally difficult.

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