Kate Carter for Apprentice of the Year
At the age of 19, having just graduated from a beautician training course, Kate Carter was offered a full-time job at the salon in which she had been gaining work experience. She considered it but knew that she was capable of so much more. She immediately started looking at sales position vacancies (she enjoyed working on the counter at the salon and felt that selling was one of her strengths) with prestige companies. When she saw the Mercedes-Benz Truck Sales Executive Apprenticeship programme advertised she immediately believed, as many young women would, that her application would not be taken seriously. Fortunately, with family support, she decided to apply!
The interview process for the Sales Apprenticeship was grueling. It started with a series of online tests, a telephone interview with Mercedes-Benz Recruitment and a final stage, the formal interview with the Mercedes District Manager and the Roanza Sales Manager. The formal interview was particularly in depth and challenging, the interviewers were two industry seasoned professionals who asked a range of questions designed to take the best of candidates out of their comfort zone. Out of over 70 applicants, Kate was chosen.
At the beginning of the formal training, Kate found herself among a group of more experienced and much older trainees. She could have been discouraged by her lack of knowledge and difficulty initially in picking up the technical aspect of the role but she was determined to succeed and used the key skills of watching and listening to flourish. She was supported by the Sales Manager and her experienced colleagues, initially accompanying them on customer visits, helping them with paperwork, working on practical application of the training that she learned and sharpening her process management skills; her attention to detail was a huge benefit to her.
Kate has now finished her apprenticeship and we have so much confidence in her that she has been assigned her own retail site as Sales Executive for Roanza Warrington. Our confidence has already proved well founded as she is on target to achieve healthy truck sales registrations in 2018; good for even an experienced retail sales person!
Kate doesn’t sell just a truck, she sells solutions. She uses all available tools such as Mercedes-Benz Fleetboard, Uptime and Fuel Challenger programme to demonstrate fuel saving, downtime reduction opportunities and methods to improve safety; everything needed today for the Truck Industry of tomorrow. Kate also ensures optimized vehicle maintenance through the sale of repair and maintenance contracts which she ensures are set up correctly for the customer’s needs by working with our in-house Connectivity Specialist. The customers are so happy with the service provided, that she already has multiple orders from the people she has been working with who are pleased with how thorough she is and how she works with them on a continuing basis – not just when she is looking to sell them a new vehicle.
With the industry challenges that women still face, the steep learning curve that Kate has had to cope with, the outstanding determination to complete the apprenticeship programme that she has shown and with the success she is already on target to achieve in her first year since programme completion, we believe that Kate is exactly the type of person we should be promoting within our industry to guarantee it’s future.
One of Kate’s loyal customers Connolly Scaffolding say:
‘Kate was a delight to deal with, she was professional, attentive and polite, despite us having a previous issue with Mercedes she convinced us that times had changed and Roanza were a business to provide us with the product we required I would have no hesitation in recommending her and your company due to our experience, in fact I was unaware Kate was an apprentice!’
Mercedes Benz Training Manager, Nick Smith:
‘I remember Kate arriving for her first day on the Truck Trainee Programme, back in July 2015, what impressed me most was her commitment, having just completed her beautician training.
Kate was one of the youngest trainees we had ever taken into the programme, yet she showed a maturity in her new role, taking on many of the new skills immediately. I remember she was the one to ask many of the questions during the early days, and whilst she may not of initially understood the “technical/mechanical” items we were discussing, her additional questions confirmed and improved her knowledge.’
Good luck with your nomination Kate!