Meet Jamie Blacknell, Trainee Workshop Technician
Jamie joined the team in 2015, working part time in the accessory shop whilst studying at college and uni. He went full-time after graduating and when he was offered the workshop role last autumn, he jumped at the chance to learn some new skills.
Outside of work, Jamie enjoys music, socialising with friends and experimenting in the kitchen!
What does your role involve?
I’m currently working on the PDI side of things, getting the caravans and motorhomes ready for the customer to collect after purchase. I check that everything is in full working order and fit any extras that have been requested such as motor movers. Prior to this I was working on the servicing side, carrying our services on vehicles and fixing any issues.
I started working here when I was 16 and my confidence has grown hugely in that time. Six years in customer-facing roles is great experience; the skills I’ve learnt are invaluable and transferable to any role I may do in the future.
It’s been great learning how caravans, motorhomes and campervans work; I’ve carried out PDIs on all three types of vehicle and they’re all very different so it’s been quite a learning curve!
Before moving into the workshop role last autumn, I worked in the accessory shop for five years, which I really enjoyed. I served customers, sold awnings and advised people on products they were interested in. I never really tried to sell, I just advised and allowed people to make up their own minds, which I think is the best way.
After so long working in the shop, I built up a lot of knowledge, so I was often the one that people came to with questions and I also helped to train new staff. I’ve helped out with some of the website stuff and with the point of sale artwork in the shop - my degree was in games design and art so I had the right skills!
What do you like about caravanning?
My parents have been caravanners for a long time so I’ve been going since I was about 5! When I was younger we used to caravan all over the place, including France, which was great. Caravanning holidays are just fun, there are loads of fantastic sites with plenty to keep kids busy and it’s great to get out and explore different areas. The social side of it is also a plus, we met new people wherever we went and we always had a good time.
What do you find most rewarding about your role?
It’s rewarding when you fit something and it works first time, or when you get something working again that was broken. It’s also satisfying when you receive positive feedback from customers; them voicing that they're happy with the work you’ve done makes it all worthwhile!
When I was working in the shop, I always found it satisfying to know that I’d helped someone find a product they were after; knowing they could go away on their holiday with what they needed was pretty rewarding.
What challenges you most?
When I can’t figure out how to fix something! But I’m only a few months into this job, so if I ever feel out of my depth I ask for help - all my colleagues are great and I always feel well supported. It’s a great team!
Any notable achievements to mention?
When I was working in the shop, there were occasions when it was quiet and the showroom sales team were busy so I’d go out and lend a hand. I sold a few caravans myself during those times so I was really pleased about that!
What do you like most about working for Winchester Caravans & Motorhomes?
It’s a great place to work, everyone is friendly and easy to get on with. It’s always busy too so the time flies! I used to be more of a ‘computer’ person, so the fact that I’m finding the hands-on stuff so enjoyable surprised me but I’m loving it!
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