By November 27, 2017 Read More →

The new face of Super Rod’s wholesaler support team

Super Rod Managing Director Malcolm Duncan recently wrote a white paper urging the electrical sector to improve how it attracts, trains and retains young people. And while it focused primarily on apprenticeships, there is a need for young talent across every aspect of the electrical industry. We talk to Super Rod’s first graduate trainee, Zoe Reynolds, who brings new energy and business knowhow to its wholesaler and distributor activities.

Zoe, tell us a bit about yourself.

In 2016, I graduated from Bristol University with a BA (Hons) in International Business. I initially worked in recruitment, having completed a year’s internship with a recruiter as part of my course, but that industry just wasn’t for me. So I took the decision to take some time off to travel. I then came back to Wales to look for something completely new.

And that’s when you discovered the electrical industry?

Yes, although it’s more like it found me! I started applying for jobs in buying and merchandising, as I had really enjoyed working in retail whilst I was studying. Super Rod approached me about a graduate trainee vacancy which centred around their electrical wholesaler and distributor customers – the role would allow me to build my skills and experience in delivering retailer support, merchandising and rolling out new products. Although it was in an industry I had no prior experience of, the job role was exactly what I wanted.

What have you been doing as part of your job so far?

A lot of listening! The main step for me was to get a real understanding of my customers’ needs. Every week, I have been visiting various branches to meet customers and introduce myself. I think face-to-face meetings are incredibly important to build a proper rapport. It’s great to hear what customers think about the products we offer and also to listen to their feedback on the challenges they face. It gives me a far more rounded perspective of our business operations and the industry.

What have you found most challenging about your role?

Understanding the technical side has probably been the most challenging issue for me so far. Prior to starting with Super Rod, I had no idea about cable routing or anything electrical at all! I soon realised it was critical to my job that I fully understand our products and the environments in which they are used. So I’ve put a lot of time and effort into improving my understanding and recently spent a week working with an electrician, getting some hands on experience on site.

What do you like about your job?

It’s very varied, I get to meet lots of different people, I often work off my own initiative and I can make the role my own. It’s great that I’m able to travel to different parts of the country to grow my understanding of the regional demands for our products.

Although we are trying to attract more women, the electrical industry is still very male-dominated. Does this have its challenges?

Sometimes, yes. I have noticed that some people respond to me differently and I think that is because I am a young woman. So on occasions, I have had to work a little harder to prove that I know what I’m talking about and prove my credibility. For the most part though, I think my customers are very accepting once they see that I am more than capable and I can add value to their business.

What can wholesalers expect from you in the future?

My 100% commitment is to growing our customers’ businesses. This will be done in a variety of ways from product training and merchandising to product demonstrations. I’m really looking forward this as I will get the chance to put my business skills into action. My role will develop as I do, but the ultimate goal is to provide greater support to help wholesalers sell our products to their customers.

Any advice for others considering a graduate post in the electrical industry?

Do it! We had recruitment agencies that would visit us at University to discuss our job options and opportunities, but the electrical sector was never mentioned, so it wasn’t an industry I had considered entering. Now that I am here, I really can’t imagine doing anything else.

Above: Zoe Reynolds is Super Rod’s first graduate trainee. Zoe is encouraging other graduates to consider working in the electrical industry.