Top shop champion
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.
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.