Talented young professionals from across the country were hailed as “the future of the industry” at Mercedes-Benz Trucks’ first sales trainee graduation ceremony.
Gary North, the manufacturer’s Head of District Management, told them: “We’re here to celebrate your rites of passage as you start your journeys into an industry I’m very passionate about. Mercedes-Benz Trucks is committed to bringing in new people and developing their skills, to ensure we can all deliver for the premium brands we represent. You should all be very proud of your achievements.”
The Mercedes-Benz and FUSO Trucks Sales Trainee Programme event was held at the Malmaison Hotel, in Birmingham, and co-hosted by Gary and Truck Sales Director Heiko Selzam. They presented certificates to the latest trainees to complete the 25-week programme, which combines formal instruction at the Mercedes-Benz Training & Development Centre in Milton Keynes with ‘on the job’ learning at Dealerships. At the end of the course, candidates must pass an independent assessment to secure their Truck Sales Professional qualifications.
Mercedes-Benz Trucks’ decision to hold its first graduation ceremony underlines the scheme’s importance to its business. Heiko told the new graduates: “Former trainees are now regularly among the top performing sales executives in our Dealer Network. I have no doubt that the knowledge and skills you have learned, coupled with your impressively high levels of commitment and motivation, mean you will soon be joining their ranks. You are our future, and the future of the industry.”
Special honours went to Rebecca Monk, from Dealer Marshall Truck & Van, who is the first of the current crop to earn her Class 1 Heavy Goods Vehicle licence. Having worked in membership sales and then telesales, Rebecca was looking for a job with a difference. “The ad for a trainee truck sales executive jumped straight out at me,” she recalled. “The training has been brilliant, and I’ve loved every minute of it.
“This is much more than just another job,” continued Rebecca. “I have a fantastic opportunity to build a fulfilling career with a Dealer that represents one of the world’s best-known brands, and I’m determined to make the most of it.”
Earlier, former trainees Jack Hulse, from Roanza Truck & Van, and Calum McDonald, of Caledonian Truck & Van, offered their newly-qualified successors a few tips, based on their own experiences of having been in the job for more than a year.
“I never imagined that I’d end up selling Mercedes-Benz Trucks and representing such a prestigious brand,” said Calum. “You develop a passion for it from day one, and you want to keep learning more. It can be tough at times but every day’s a new one.”
“You will get knocked back,” warned Jack. “That can be difficult to take when you’ve gone through a process and tried your hardest. But learn from the experience, move on to the next one, and success will come.”
Introduced to address a looming threat in the shape of an ageing Dealer sales force, the Mercedes-Benz and FUSO Trucks Sales Trainee Programme was honoured last year with a Princess Royal Training Award, for creating lasting impact by successfully linking skills development needs to business performance.
Recruiters have sought to select individuals who, with a handful of exceptions, have had no prior knowledge of, or preconceptions about, the truck industry. Instead, candidates have been chosen on the basis of their personalities, quick wits and determination to succeed. Those who have previously completed the course included a former air hostess, a beautician, a sous chef, an undertaker and a one-time Legoland manager. Nearly 50 individuals have qualified since the programme’s launch in 2011.