Staff trio hit long service landmarks

Staff trio hit long service landmarks
Irene (left) and Lisa at the Falkirk Campus

Three dedicated Forth Valley College staff members from the same department have all hit worthy long service landmarks in January 2022.

Both Irene Kane and Dorothy Erskine have notched up 40 years each working for the College and Lisa Hachemi has chalked up 25 - and a half years –service, and all have been celebrated by the College and the Department of Business Development.

Irene started full-time at Clackmannan College in the old Alloa Campus at Branshill - although technically she actually started in September 1981 on a Youth Opportunities Programme, before successfully applying for a full-time post. At Clackmannan College she was an Office Junior, Clerical Assistant Grade 1 and Grade 2 and then PA to Principal/Office Services Manager - which involved managing a large team of administrators and all procurement for the college including telephones, stationery, office equipment, photocopiers.

At Forth Valley College, she has been Executive Administrator working for the Senior Management Team and PA/Exec Administrator to Chief Operations Officer/Depute Principal.

Irene, who is now a Business Development Partner in the Department of Business Development, said: “I think 40 years tells you how much I have loved working at the College. I have seen unbelievable changes in that time, the biggest probably being IT and the volume of staff now working at the College. When I started in the office there were three permanent office staff and we did everything apart from bursaries. One thing that doesn’t change, is the relationships and friendships you build up over the years. I have been really lucky to build up lifelong friendships and still keep in touch with people who have left or retired.

“My best bits are probably just the pleasure I get from helping people and being able to make a difference. You spend a lot of time at your work and I like to have fun, to quote a former colleague ‘you can have fun, but still get the job done’.

“The advice I would give to new staff would be just be yourself, don’t be scared to ask anyone for help or advice, it is a really friendly supportive place to work.

“Now, I am looking forward to working with my colleagues in supporting the apprentices I am working with to achieve their goals. But who knows what the future will bring, there are always opportunities arising. It is never too late to learn something new and take on a new challenge as I have proven recently.  I could still be here for my 50th long service award - although I don’t think there is one, so maybe retirement would be the reward for that!”

Dorothy, who is currently Systems and Administration Coordinator in the Department of Business Development, said: “I started at the old Falkirk College of Technology. I began my time at the Falkirk Campus in the general office then moved to the Department of Science, Food and Health, where I spent many years. Then, following various restructures, I spent times in General Division, Marketing, Applied Sciences, and then Business Development where I am based now. I have had many opportunities and lots of fun and laughs with friends and colleagues over the years.”

Lisa, is currently Contracts Officer, in the Department of Business Development. She has worked in various departments since starting work at the Falkirk Campus in August 1996, including: Personnel Department, Marketing, Information and Guidance Department, Bursary Office, Equalities Department in Administration and Finance Assistant roles and also in the Equalities Department as International Support Co-ordinator, taking on a dual role as Assistive Technologist, in the Student Association as Student Association Co-ordinator and in the Business Development Department as Contracts Officer – a dual role along with International Support Co-ordinator.

Lisa, said: “Working at the college in the main has been an absolute blast, but by all means there have been some challenges along the way. I have seen many restructures and changes over the last 25 years, and seen many staff members come and go. I have had the opportunity to work with some remarkable people over the years and still work with some amazing people who not only do I class as my colleagues, but as true friends.

“The College is a fab place to work and I am truly thankful for the opportunities I have been given to work in different departments. I often say that I could write a book with the stories of my time working in the College. I really enjoy working with students and working with international students really gives me a lot of job satisfaction. I do feel that I am lucky to have a job that I really enjoy and this is made even better with the staff that I work alongside. I have a fantastic manager in Zak Stark who is not only a great guy, but is really encouraging and fully supportive in everything I do. I have worked at the college since I was 16 years old and who would have thought more than half my age later, I would still be working in the same company. I wouldn’t change it for the world – I love my job and I love working at the college!

“My advice to any new start member of staff is quite simple, take every opportunity that presents itself. It could be anything from attending training courses to helping colleagues or other departments, you just never know what doors will open for you.   

“In my current role within the Commercial & Training Delivery department, we have a new Director (Colin McMurray) who has just joined our team.  I look forward to seeing the direction in which he leads the department in, and I hope I can have some involvement in shaping the department to make it even bigger and better than it is already.”  

Dr Ken Thomson, Principal of Forth Valley College, said: “It is always great to see dedicated colleagues reach long service landmarks and this month sees three ‘well kent’ faces from the College do just that. I am very proud of Irene and Dorothy reaching 40 years and Lisa hitting the 25 year mark. All three of them have been intrinsic to the success Forth Valley College has had since becoming the first merged regional college in Scotland in 2005 and even before that, as Falkirk and Clackmannan Colleges. I wish them all the very best and heartfelt thanks for their service with the College.”