- How did you get into the industry? I started working at Chandlers Brighton BMW in February 2015 whilst I was studying my A Levels. I worked Saturdays and Sundays on reception for around 3 months. At this point, I was unsure of where my future would take me. I had many friends with ambitions to study at university, and I thought I had a similar ambition myself. After many conversations with teachers, parent and friends, I came to the decision that if I did go to university, it would have been ‘for the sake of it’ and not for a career that really required a degree.
- …so, what did you decide to do? Around this time, I was offered a full-time job with Chandlers as a customer service apprentice. This meant working and getting paid, as well as learning a skill I had not come across before. It really did seem like a no-brainer! They told me that I would work in a few different departments, to see where my abilities and interests really thrived. In this way, I have been able to get to know colleagues in every department, as well as learning a lot about the motor trade.
- What positions did you cover? I started working in our bodyshop as an administrator, then, I moved onto the position of service advisor. Both of these roles taught me how to talk to our customers and gave me an insight into our systems. I then moved onto a role called ‘product genius’ within the sales department. Here is where I spent the most time during my apprenticeship. I learnt a lot about both the product we sell and maintain, as well as how to give an outstanding level of customer service. This was the area I enjoyed. I am now a certified BMW sales executive and I am loving every minute from the sales process to the handover. I had never imagined that I would be selling cars as my job, however, it combines my two passions, cars and people!
- What sort of training and support did you get? During my time at Chandlers, I have visited the BMW Training Academy in Reading several times. I received training in all levels of customer service. This included: phone calls, face to face interaction, as well as product knowledge. My trainer would come to my retailer to assess me on my progress and see me in my working environment. We also had some coursework to complete before we could ‘graduate’ as customer service apprentices. The end of my two years involved a trip to the BMW Academy with my family to congratulate me on my achievement and collect my certificate at the Apprentice Awards Day.
- Any thoughts on your early career and aspirations for the future? I have thoroughly enjoyed the last two years and have learnt more than I could have ever imagined. My aspirations are to become a business manager in the next five years and work my way up to be head of business. Not going to university, and continuing my career at Chandlers was a great decision and I haven’t since looked back.
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