Top shop cham­pion

Central Otago Mirror - - LAKES DISTRICT SPORT - By MARY-JO TO­HILL

Alexan­dra man Mathew Feron, 22, went to Christchurch for the an­nual Top Shop Re­tail Ex­cel­lence Awards last week and came back as the Re­tail Mod­ern Ap­pren­tice of the year. The Betta Elec­tri­cal em­ployee, who has been at the same job since leav­ing school at 18, beat two oth­ers for the South Is­land re­gional ti­tle, which qual­i­fied him for the na­tion­als in Auck­land on Oc­to­ber 24, where he will be up against three North Is­lan­ders. Mr Feron was judged on the train­ing mod­ules he com­pleted over three years while do­ing a gov­ern­ment-funded re­tail in­sti­tute course, to achieve level 2 and 3 na­tional cer­tifi­cates. A visit by a mys­tery shop­per who eval­u­ated his cus­tomer ser­vice, com­mu­ni­ca­tion and prod­uct knowl­edge skills sealed the deal to make him a clear win­ner. He won an iPod shuf­fle, a So­dastream, a 12-month mag­a­zine sub­scrip­tion and the op­por­tu­nity to com­plete the level 4 na­tional cer­tifi­cate in re­tail. His motto to get through any chal­leng­ing days in re­tail was to ‘‘keep smil­ing and treat ev­ery­one the same’’. ‘‘We’re here for the cus­tomer and you have to brush any­thing else aside and keep that in mind.’’ His ad­vice to young school leavers was to see re­tail as a le­git­i­mate ca­reer, not just a gap job while they fig­ured out what to do. ‘‘You can do it as a ca­reer and and do well and it can lead on to other things. ‘‘It’s been a cool ex­pe­ri­ence. I’ve learned a lot and I’ve found out that I’m al­right at it.’’ A keen mu­si­cian, Mr Feron owns his own house which he is do­ing up, and is keen to travel.

Photo: MARY-JO TO­HILL

Win­ner: Look out Don­ald Trump, there’s a new kid in town. Mathew Feron brought home the ti­tle of South Is­land ap­pren­tice of the year to Alexan­dra.

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