Meet Kevin Jukes, External Valeter/Dispatcher
blog / company news / sales
Kevin joined the team in August 2021 and is enjoying the role, especially dealing with the customers. Outside of work he enjoys socialising, playing the keyboard and caravanning with his wife and beagle.
What does your role involve?
As a dispatcher, I’m the person who, when you come to collect your caravan, does the handover and tells you how it all works! I also valet the outside of the caravans and motorhomes so that they’re all lovely and clean for when the customer comes to collect.
I have my HGV licence and I’ve had many driving jobs in the past so I often deliver and collect vehicles as and when needed too. This could be because the customer is planning to site their caravan so we will tow it to their site if it’s relatively local, and I also drive up to Warwick to drop off and collect VW vans that we are having converted with CamperKing.
What is your career background?
When I left school, I took a trade, which was auto electrics. I took my City & Guilds and then worked in breakdown recovery, staying in that field for 12 years. I gained my HGV licence during this time too. When I’d had enough of laying underneath trucks beside motorways I went into lorry driving, which I did for 20 years. I drove road tankers delivering flour to bakeries and then later became a trainer, training new drivers how to operate the tankers.
Life as a lorry driver means long hours each week which ultimately led to my first wife and I parting ways. I then met my second wife, who was a publican, and we ran a pub together for 10 years. It was a real ale pub in Southampton and we had a great time. The hours were long but sociable and we had a great team of staff. My step kids worked with us too, one as assistant manager and the other as chef.
After that I went back into lorry driving but on the agency side this time. I then got my bus licence and drove buses for three years, followed by five years of coach driving.
I turned 60 last year and decided I’d like a job with a few less hours to give me more time to do the things I enjoy, such as caravanning! I’ve been buying caravans from James at Winchester Caravans for over 30 years and I mentioned to him that if he ever had a job that would match my skills, I’d be very interested! So when he contacted me last year to tell me about the dispatcher job, I jumped at the chance!
What do you like about caravanning?
Getting away whenever you fancy it! It doesn't matter where you go, near or far, it’s so enjoyable. The freedom is great, being in the great outdoors, getting away and really relaxing. We take the dog with us and go for a nice dog walk and pop to a pub for a drink before walking back.
I’ve been caravanning since I was a child; my parents had a tent first, then they upgraded to a trailer tent, followed by a caravan. We’d go on touring holidays and then later we got a static caravan. When I got married, I bought a touring caravan as I enjoyed it so much during my childhood. I’ve now got a Bailey Grande Brindisi, which is fantastic. My step son was so impressed with it that he has just bought one too!
What do you find most rewarding about your role?
The customer satisfaction - I deal with customers all the time and it doesn't matter if I spend 30 mins or 5 hours doing the handover - as long as they go away happy that’s all that matters. I go through all aspects of the vehicle with them, making sure they know everything they need to know and giving any advice on useful extras to buy. I especially enjoy dealing with caravan newbies as there’s lots to tell them and they’re always keen to find out as much as they can. I love working with the public and chatting to customers, it’s always the highlight of my day!
What is the most challenging aspect of the role?
Working outside during the winter! I reap the benefits in the summer months as it’s lovely being outside, but I have to wrap up warm during the colder months!
What do you pride yourself on?
Attention to detail - I always like to make sure that each and every vehicle that I clean and hand over is spotless - so that it’s as I would like my new van to be if I were the one receiving it. I also constantly remind myself that no one can know absolutely everything about every vehicle, but I love learning and if I’m asked something I don’t know, I always go out of my way to find out so that I can pass the information onto the customer.
Why is Winchester Caravans and Motorhomes a great place to work?
It’s a family-run business, very relaxed and a great place to be. They’re so flexible with everything, for example if you need time off for something, they’ll always accommodate it, nothing is ever a problem. I recently had some time off for a hernia op and I was welcomed back warmly and put on light duties, which was very thoughtful. I’ve known everyone here for years and I can honestly say that all the staff here are fantastic.
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