Kirkcaldy woman celebrates 40 years with BT

A woman from Kirkcaldy is celebrating her 40th year anniversary working with telecommunications giant BT this month.
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Elizabeth Laing (56), a customer service advisor, first started with the phone and internet provider in 1981 after completing her fifth year at high school when she was only 16-years-old.

She initially began work as a switchboard operator, manually connecting calls with cables, but, as technology changed over the years, she has been at the forefront of the digital revolution.

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Elizabeth said: “I first started working with BT as a switchboard operator in the telephone exchange at Wemyssfield in Kirkcaldy just up from the Town House.

Elizabeth after being given flowers to mark her long service with BT.Elizabeth after being given flowers to mark her long service with BT.
Elizabeth after being given flowers to mark her long service with BT.

"I remember when I worked there that we had to connect people manually by connecting the wires on the switchboard.

"We also had to use a microfiche machine to find phone numbers for people whenever they called 192 directory enquiries as well as dealing with any 999 calls that came through.

"Things have changed a lot since back then. Everything was done manually by hand and written down, now everything is digital – the switchboard that I used is now in a museum!”

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As time changed so did the technology that Elizabeth was working with.

"When I started there were no computers to be seen, but now the equipment that we use is state of the art,” she said.

"The list is endless to the things that we can do now. It used to be green boxes full of wires, but now with fibre broadband the cable is the width of a human hair.

"We have all of the latest tech – it really is amazing the depths that we can go to with the technology that we have now."

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Although the tech is constantly changing, Elizabeth adds that BT as a company to work for has not, and describes being part of it as being part of a big family.

“In my 40 years with BT I have to say they have treated me very well,” she added.

“BT helped me through my Duke of Edinburgh Award by sponsoring me to do a sailing trip on a tall ship which sailed from Scotland to France and the Netherlands before returning to port in Dundee where I was then whisked away in a car to Holyrood Palace where I was given my award from the Duke of Edinburgh himself.

"It’s not just a job, but more like a big family, they invest in people and listen to us to make it a better place to work at – I’ve not regretted anything.”

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Nick Lane, MD of service, BT’s Consumer Division said: “It’s my great pleasure to say thank you for the commitment Elizabeth has proudly shown at BT over 40 years. I’d like to congratulate Elizabeth on her accomplished ability to adapt through incredible change, and continue her long BT career with honour.

“We know our customers value speaking to someone with such pride and dedication, offering the most personal and local service. Elizabeth has had such a positive impact on her team and her customers, helping countless people keep connected over the years.”

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