#DYWKeyworker - -Amanda Galleitch - Royal Mail

Friday, 29th May 2020

Name: Amanda Galleitch

Job Title:Post Woman

Company: Royal Mail

Hometown: Nairn

What attracted you to the industry you are in?

I spent 10 years, working at The Highlanders Museum at Fort George. I worked my way up from cleaner to Curator. I loved every minute of my work; it was in the wonderful setting of Fort George but you never got outside!

From there, I wanted to give back to the world, sounds dramatic but as you get older you appreciate more. I went to work in a care home for young adults. Within six months, I went from a care assistant to a Senior Carer. The only difference is Senior Carers have more responsibilities and can do the medication rounds. Working in care is very fulfilling. You can make a real difference in

How long have you been with the company?

November 2017

Describe your day-to-day role;

My first job is to prep my frame, this means putting the mail in to the frame in order of deliver. Some mail is already walk sorted so it is just a matter of putting it in slot but we do also get lose mail and magazines which takes a little more time to find the slot.

I then go to the small parcel area and collect at least 2 drop bags (large grey sacks) of parcels. I then go back to my frame and sort them into either the mail slots or organised on top of the frame so it can tied up with mail.

I then go to the Callers Office to collect my Special Deliveries. Special Deliveries are normally high valued items and urgent. They must be delivered by 1pm. Except during this pandemic, Royal Mail have waived this due to the staggered starts and no van share to ease the pressure on us. So, we have until 5pm to deliver but we still try to aim earlier. The Callers Office is a secure room with a large walk in safe. This office is always locked and we deal with the person inside through a window.

Before I tie up, I must check for any items that need to be redirected ( this is when people have moved home and get their mail forwarded), or mail that has to be held back ( this is where people have organised to collect their mail from the office or if someone has organised their mail to be held for a period i.e. they have gone on holiday).Once that is all done then I proceed to tie up

If I have a van, then I band the mail by individual streets along with the packets for the street and store them in grey boxes ready to put in van. I number the boxes to keep me right! If I am on a driving duty, I also take out large parcels for the round too. A large parcel is anything over a shoe box size. I always write a list of the parcels so I do not forget any and have to double back on myself. If I am on a trolley duty, I put parcels in the front part of the trolley making sure that the furthest streets parcels are put in first and build them up so the closest streets are on top.

I do the same in the front area of the trolley with the mail. I number the different street bundles so that I am working down from largest number to 1. Always trust your mail! If you take care and time prepare then everything should flow nicely!

Then it is time to collect your PDA. This is the handheld machine that you scan parcels with when you deliver them. Each member has their own log on details so everything you do can be traced back. These machines also log where we go and can tell how long we have stood in one spot for.

On the wall of the office is a list of the different delivery areas along with a bar code. Some routes have a delivery code and a collection code. This allows the postie to empty some of the post box on the way around. I then scan the appropriate code into my PDA and that is me ready to start.

The last few things I do are to fill my water bottle and go to toilet. You never know where the next one will be!

As a postie, I have been averaging about 25000 steps per day!

What kind of training have you done?Have you completed any professional qualifications?

Training starts before you get put into the work setting. You spend time learning about the company, learning about the process of the mail and then about moving and handling, how to use the equipment i.e. the post carts.

When you get allocated a round, there will be an experienced postie to show you the round. He/she will take you out for 3 days to show you the area.

After a few weeks, I then got taking on the vehicle training. You get to drive a professional outside trainer around, and you are assessed on your driving and they give you pointers on how to improve, if needed.

I have recently gone to the mail centre in Aberdeen for a three-day First Aid Training Course. It was very intense, but I know feel that I could handle any situation.

There are lots of opportunities for advancement within Royal Mail.

What skills have you learned?

How to prioritise time better and geography of areas.

We get parcels and letters which have to be delivered by 1pm so you need to be constantly mindful of where you are in a area and decide if it is necessary to break off to deliver these items or make a decision first thing in the morning to alter your route to clear these items first.

I start in Inverness Mail Centre before transferring through to Nairn Delivery Office. I did not have any knowledge of the streets in either, but I can now proudly take you on a grand tour of Nairn and certain parts of Inverness. I still say I have no sense of direction!

Have you completed any professional qualifications?

No but I do believe in lifelong learning. Throughout my careers, I have always taken up any learning so I can better myself. I started the Museum being the cleaner and knew nothing about the history of the Regiments, but I can bore you now with information and took that many courses that I became the Curator! I also believe in the Open University and studied various courses over the years and gained my Certificate of Higher Education.

Do you like living and working in the Inverness & Highlands?

I love it! I was born in Edinburgh and worked and lived there until I was 22. The Highlands are beautiful! I love when I am when I am on a rural postal round in my van taking in the scenery

What skills are the most important for you to do your job well?

You need to stay focused and have an eye for detail. Being able to multitask is a key skill. Every job needs a little flexibility for the role you play and the ability to adapt to change.

Was there anything about the job that surprised you?

Everyone seems to think that a postie arrives at work and just collects his bags of mail and goes out on delivery and that they are finished early. I believed this too!

I was surprised at the work that you must put in before you are anywhere near ready to bundle up the mail before packing up for delivery.

I am on a 29-hour contract. My contracted hours are 08 00 hrs to 13 48. But most day I am over this. My first Christmas was a real eye opener. You could still be out on deliver at 5pm in the dark, using a torch for light!

It also surprises me the quality and quantity of uniform that RM provides. i.e. hats, gloves, jackets, t-shirts, shirts, trouser, shorts and shoes. Summer and winter wear!

Is there anything unusual about your role?

Every day is different. I do not have a set round so I float around various different routes, some country and some town

Do you get a lot of support from your company?

There is always support available. If you have an issue, the managers will always do what they can to assist.

We also get provided with other department contacts in case we need legal assistance, debt advice or mental health support, amongst other things.

What’s your favourite part of the job?

I love being out the office and in the heart of the community. I am a people person and it is the best feeling sharing with the people who you are delivering too. Sharing the good times with the bad. You are the only person some people see so you play an essential role

Did you always want to pursue a career in this industry?

No, but I do wish I joined the service sooner. I think I would have liked to work my way up to manager level.

What is your advice for young school leavers looking to start an apprenticeship?

Go and have a look at Royal Mail website and see what apprenticeships are available. I think apprenticeships are a great way to learn the what jobs entail, gain experience and earn money at the same time.

What is your career goal?

I am happy at the Operational Grade, but I would like to learn the more of the indoor work, the Callers Office which is the area of the building where the public come in to collect their parcels

How does it feel to be a KeyWorker on the frontline, supporting the Country’s fight against Covid-19?

It is a scary time! The postal service has continued as normal during the fight against Covid-19. No one has dealt with this before therefore information is changing constantly. No one could tell us what the risk of handling the mail and parcels was. How long Covid-19 lived on certain materials. We went from all staff working in a small office to staggered start times, overnight. From sharing a van with others to this being banned. Customers not being able to sign for goods on the PDA’s for fear of contamination. We also went from handing parcels to the public to leaving on doorsteps and walking back 2m. This is not a natural thing for us to do. The risks for us are high, if you consider all the surfaces we touch visiting 500 to 600 households.

I have vulnerable people in my household, so I added pressure. Do I give up a role I love to protect people I love? I did choose to work throughout this pandemic and thankfully we are still safe.

Tell us what makes you proud to be a Keyworker?

Many people have been confined to their houses for a very long time now and it makes me proud to be the one thing that is still routine in their lives. The one that enables them to have contact with loved ones. The person who can provide them with news from around the area. People now have time to stop and have a chat.

Just before Easter, I noticed a change in a few people on my round and that children were beginning to get fed up and began struggling with their mental health. They had nothing to smile about, nothing to look forward too so I decided to dress up in fancy dress costumes. I can not believe something so simple could have brought as much joy as it has. The public take great delight in taking photographs and posting on social media. The come out to thank me for bringing some lighthearted joy. I have become a celebrity in our little town. I truly feel part of Nairn even though I am not a native.