By Thomas Disney, Graduate Sales Engineer, Whitecroft Lighting
You might be thinking, what is it like being on Whitecroft Lighting's Graduate Sales Scheme? My name is Tom, and I have recently completed Whitecroft Lighting's internal element of their Graduate Sales Scheme.
After spending 3 years at The University of Lincoln specialising in high-end hospitality, changing my career path to sales was a big jump for me. Especially moving into an area of sales that seemed from the start to require a really high level of expertise and knowledge. I had never really looked up and paid any attention to lighting, but this quickly changed.
Just months after landing back in the UK from working 3 months in Florida, I had my first day in sunny Ashton-under-Lyne. My first day consisted of a tour around the factory and spending time with the Technical Manager going over British Standard Regulations. After that day I felt like I had a mountain to climb with the amount of knowledge I thought had to digest. Being dyslexic, throughout my whole educational career I’ve always had to work twice as hard as everyone else to reap the same rewards. If I could go back and tell day one Tom anything, it would be not to worry. Learning at Whitecroft is very gradual and you shouldn’t worry if you don’t understand everything straight away.
From my first day, I have learned so much and developed so much personally and professionally. The support from everybody in the Whitecroft team was overwhelming and everyone had time for any question I might have had, no matter how much I thought I struggled. This support has taken me on some incredible little journeys. Such as presenting an idea for an NFC business card made from scrap aluminium from the factory to all Directors and the Sales Council board; and, travelling down to Reading and Harlow to host a Social Selling workshop for the Southeast and London team.
Whitecroft supports and encourages creativity and eagerness to learn and develop, which has really benefited me. Choosing a Level 4 Sales Apprenticeship has vastly opened my eyes. I always thought that coming from hospitality I was quite proficient at dealing with customer complaints or even up-selling, however, I now know that I have so much more to learn and through this apprenticeship, I feel like I am being prepared the best I can for the world of sales.
Going into the role I had never looked up and thought about lighting. Little did I know that this would soon become a main subject of conversation amongst my family, friends, and girlfriend. I have got the lighting bug and I know that anyone who does the graduate scheme will too.
The learning feels natural and in no way is forced at any stage. I have especially benefited from being in the lighting design department. At first, I feared this as typically I am not a very artistic person, so I wasn’t sure how my skills would fit in. However, I was surprised at how quickly I took to lighting design software such as Relux and AutoCAD.
Whilst undertaking the Whitecroft Lighting Graduate Scheme, I was based in Manchester for 6 months. After spending the first few weeks in a local hotel, I moved into a house in Didsbury with my colleagues, who are also on the graduate scheme. Didsbury is South of Manchester and full of bars, coffee shops, and most importantly, an Aldi. I’ve loved living in Manchester. From the weekly pub trips to exploring the Peak District and the Lakes, it has been an amazing experience that I couldn’t recommend more.
In the future, I want to continuously develop my commercial and sales knowledge to the best degree I can to further my career so I can, hopefully, one day, manage my own team. I would also like to be as actively involved in the Sales Graduate Scheme as possible to help guide any graduate through the process that I went through, to help maximise their experience so they have as fond memories as I have.
If I could give some advice to the next cohort of graduates joining Whitecroft it would be to relax and have fun. Though everything seems complex and technical at the start it will naturally make sense after some time and the feeling of euphoria you feel when you can have those technical conversations with a contractor or consultant is unmatchable. Furthermore, enjoy being in an office with people who are all full of joy and love a conversation, and make the most of the expertise and knowledge around you. My Whitecroft experience has been incredible so far and I am looking forward to all the adventures to come.
"I’m Thomas Disney, a Graduate Sales Engineer at Whitecroft Lighting covering the Midlands. I support clients with their lighting projects in the Commercial, Education, Healthcare, and Industrial sectors."
Get in touch with Tom at Thomas.Disney@whitecroftlight.com