Covid 19 coronavirus Delta outbreak – Lockdown Heroes: Former Air NZ worker on Covid frontline

A flight attendant who lost her 33-year career to Covid redundancy is now flying high in a new role at a vaccination centre – and making sure people have a first-class experience along the way.

After losing her job at Air New Zealand last year, Auckland woman Coral Davies said she had time to reflect on her future.

She decided she wanted to do something positive and worthwhile for the community.

Davies and hundreds of other vaccination centre workers around New Zealand have answered the call and retrained for the newly created jobs.

“It is making history and it’s exciting and interesting. I wanted to do my part for something I believe in,” she said.

“I work as part of an amazing team who have all come together from different roles and we have done it very quickly.”

Davies and the vaccination centre workers around New Zealand are today’s Lockdown Heroes.

Davies, who started in a “flow coordinator” role, was recently promoted and now leads the registration team.

She has been putting her exceptional leadership and customer service skills to the important work of getting New Zealanders vaccinated.

Davies has worked at two large Auckland vaccination centres and said the team runs a smooth operation with a focus on “customer experience”.

“We have a lot from the travel and medical industries, some who were retired but most are from customer service roles.

“We are committed to creating an upbeat environment and making sure everyone who comes in is looked after so they have a great experience.”

Skills and knowledge from her long career at Air New Zealand had been invaluable in the role, she said.

Davies is proud of the streamlined system of taking people through check-in, vaccination and check-out and said it is very similar to taking a flight.

“It’s all about people, and working at the vaccination centre is very much like working on an aircraft. There is just no plane there and we don’t go anywhere.

“It is still moving people through a site and because it is so new they are unsure what is happening.”

Making people comfortable and ensuring they had a good experience so they returned for their second Covid vaccine was essential, she said.

Davies said she missed her career with Air New Zealand but said it gave her the best 33 years and she understood the company had no choice but to downsize.

“I had an amazing time there, it was a huge part of my life, but I accepted it,” she said.

“I felt for the talented people early in their careers who lost their jobs and I had to write references for. That was very hard.”

Daughter Emily Davies said she got to see first-hand her mother’s resilience when she lost her job. She also saw how well her mother performed at work when she went in for her vaccination.

“She is so upbeat and welcoming and just puts people at ease in what can be a very unsettling time,” she said.

“She treats every person who walks through the door like they are walking into business class and she coaches her team to do the same.”

Davies was so proud at her mother’s ability to stay positive and embrace a new job after 33 years with the same employer she posted a message on Twitter.

“My tweet about my mum’s journey from redundancy to frontline worker in a vaccination centre has reached 19,000 people and counting,” She said.

“So many people around the world have enjoyed hearing this heartwarming story about my mum’s resilience and care for people through the upheaval of Covid.”

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