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Meet the Asbestos Team: A Day in the Life of an Administrator

As a key accounts administrator, Nichola Hayes is instrumental to the smooth running of SOCOTEC’s Asbestos team, ensuring that the business unit consistently delivers a high standard of service to its clients. In this blog, Nicky discusses how working for SOCOTEC has broadened her level of expertise within the asbestos sector, and how effective time management and showing good initiative are considered key attributes for the role.   

What are your roles and responsibilities as a key accounts administrator in SOCOTEC’s Asbestos team?

While some administrators have specific clients that they are responsible for, others deal with more ad-hoc works and are responsible for jobs as and when they come in, so the ability to prioritise your workload is an absolutely vital skill. There are a number of tasks that I am required to complete on a daily basis, all of which are instrumental to maintaining the efficiency of operations across the wider business unit.

All incoming paperwork is received by the administrative team, which must be sorted and prioritised according to the service-level agreement for that customer. We are also required to take all telephone and email queries from clients, project managers and surveyors and deliver them to the relevant contacts.

All samples delivered to the office are counted and booked into the laboratory system, while surveyor’s paperwork is checked and scanned into the relevant job folders, where it is then ready to be drawn up into plans. We input all analysis results and send certificates out to clients/project managers as and when required. This is passed on for quality control once the sampling results are in, before reports are generated and issued to the project manager or sent directly to the client. 

Scheduling work into the regional diary and contacting clients with survey dates via telephone or email is a huge part of a key account administrator’s role, as we act as their main point of contact. As a result, the ability to be both proactive and time reactive is essential in my role. Our aim is to provide clients with a high quality service by being easy to deal with and efficient.

How did you become a key accounts administrator?

I began my administrative career as a warehouse clerk, before progressing onto the role of office manager. After relocating, I joined an asbestos company in Doncaster as an administrative assistant, which equipped me with the knowledge and expertise that led to me taking on my current role at SOCOTEC six years ago.

Do you need specific qualifications for the role?

While there are no specific qualifications required for this role, the ability to work on your own initiative is key. I was fortunate enough to have had some prior technical knowledge of the sector thanks to my previous position with an asbestos organisation, but the majority of our team have come from completely different professional backgrounds, and so have had to learn and develop their knowledge on the job.

Last year, I completed the P405 Asbestos Management course, which provides a more in-depth knowledge of the regulations surrounding the management of asbestos in both domestic and commercial properties. Moreover, as part of an ongoing commitment to upskill office-based staff within the Asbestos team, SOCOTEC also offers Asbestos Awareness training. This is extremely useful in keeping aware of the dangers associated with asbestos and the recommended courses of action if they were to be exposed to asbestos-containing materials (ACMs). It is also extremely beneficial from a business perspective, as administrators are able to provide additional support to clients.

What do you enjoy the most about your role? 

Working in a busy office environment (at least prior to the recent situation!) means that my day-to-day role is very diverse. Each day differs to the next, and could see you doing anything from drawing plans and sorting samples to dealing with enquiries from clients and project managers and attending meetings. During my time within SOCOTEC’s Asbestos team, I have been fortunate enough to have worked on a number of the larger client accounts, and I enjoy being able to deliver a high level of service and go above and beyond to meet any specific requirements that they may have.

What are some of the challenges you have faced in your role and how have you overcome them?

Learning how to use SOCOTEC’s administrative system from scratch was challenging at first, as it was completely different to any other platform I had used before. However, I am now able to train new staff up on how to use the system, which is extremely rewarding and has given me confidence in my abilities. More recently, I have been learning how to use SOCOTEC’s invoicing system to assist another office while one of their members of staff has been on maternity leave. While this has been testing at times, I purposely signed myself up for the task, as I am always eager to add new strings to my bow and learn new skills.

What are some of the most interesting/high profile client accounts you have worked on?

SOCOTEC’s Asbestos division has many high profile clients, and as a key account administrator, I am the main point of contact for any new request and queries that they may have. When we secured the contract with a major supermarket, I became the main administrative contact and was responsible for implementing the correct systems in place to ensure that the contract ran smoothly. Having this level of responsibility equipped me with the confidence to take on similar high profile clients elsewhere, and I am currently dealing with a military contract and assisting them with their GDPR requirements.   

How does your role as a key accounts administrator fit into the broader project delivery within SOCOTEC’s Asbestos team?

A good level of communication and attention to detail is vital within SOCOTEC’s Asbestos team, as we are constantly dealing with an influx of samples and results from the labs. With this in mind, I would consider our administrative team as the paddles to the boats (or the feet of the swan!) for the wider Asbestos business unit, as we keep everything running and in smooth working order to enable the project managers to be able to do their job more efficiently.

What do you enjoy the most about working within SOCOTEC’s Asbestos team?

I have a fantastic professional relationship with the group of colleagues that I work with, all of whom are hardworking team players. Communication is vital between administrative staff and across the wider business unit, and we all make sure that we help each other out when we need to and overcome challenges together. I also enjoy the wealth of opportunities that SOCOTEC provides in terms of learning and development, and am proud to work for an organisation that is dedicated to helping its staff enhance their technical skills.

Do you have any advice for individuals considering a career as a key accounts administrator in the asbestos sector?

If you enjoy the challenge and diversity of this level of administrative work and are prepared to carry out different duties on a daily basis, this is definitely the career for you.

To find out more about how SOCOTEC’s range of asbestos management and consultancy services can support your business requirements, click here or contact us. Alternatively, take a look at the Careers section of our website to see the latest vacancies.

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