More Tales From Behind The Counter

Wickes Retail apprenticeship goes external

Home improvement retailer Wickes, has announced that for the first time it will recruit external applicants into

its entry level Retail

apprenticeship programme for Customer Experience. With job uncertainty at an all- time high, a rise in unemployment, and more and more


More Tales From Behind The Counter

is the latest book

written by author and friend of DIY Week, Graham Higson, in which he takes an amusing peak behind the hardware retailer’s counter, that anyone in the business, or even those those who aren’t, will find very entertaining.

Novels about shop work are

rare, and ones about hardware shops even rarer, yet here is another volume of tales reflecting the changes that have affected all retailers, large and small, and told in the same amusing and whimsical style as in the first book, How Much For a Little Screw? In this latest collection (that includes All Mod Cons and Bobo and the Burglars), the hardware man and his eccentric, yet loyal, staff are faced with a gang of con merchants, and then


devastation of demolition burglars. Available in paperback from Amazon for £10, postage free, this book will make the ideal gift for anyone working in the DIY and home improvement industry, even if you are buying for yourself. To purchase yours, visit

PEOPLE NEWS AMES UK appoint a new Managing Director

AMES UK appointed Paul North to the role of Managing Director for its UK and Ireland business in early 2020, but within three weeks of starting his new role, North faced the monumental

challenges of a global pandemic and a national lockdown.

Despite these distractions, he’s driven an ambitious

programme of strategic development designed to streamline and unify AMES UK and Ireland’s five business units of Kelkay, La Hacienda, True Temper, Woodshaw and Apta.

North has a wealth of international experience

across the UK, Europe, US and Australasia within the wholesale hardware industry, predominantly with Stanley Black & Decker. He knows the UK retail landscape very well and has a strong record of building successful teams and delivering impressive revenue growth. This experience has helped him move rapidly to introduce new infrastructure to the AMES UK organisation with a huge focus on the people, operational standards and health & safety policies. North has plans that will see the business turnover double in the next three to five years, before any further acquisitions which he says will also be on the cards. With the recent investment in infrastructure and process development, AMES UK is now poised for further growth. Tony Robson scoops Garland Products’ ‘Sales Agent of the Year’ award

It is record breaking time at Garland Products where Tony Robson scooped the ‘Sales Agent of

the Year’ award

for the third time, during a year when the company has already achieved an unprecedented £2 million sales growth. Robson is responsible for the company’s

sales of garden care and DIY products in the North West and achieved an impressive 23 per cent growth in sales over the year. This

Haskins promotes Andrew Harriss to Buying Director

Andrew Harriss, who has worked at Haskins Garden Centres for over 14 years, will join the Board of Directors as Buying Director.

Harriss joined the company in 2006 as Buyers Assistant and has spent his

career with the Ferndown-based busines, growing with the company to Assistant Buyer, Buyer, Senior Buyer and now Buying Director. As Senior Buyer, Harriss was responsible for the gardening and furniture department however as Buying Director, will now oversee the entirety of Haskins buying department, for all five of its centres.

Harris, said: “I have always been hugely grateful for the opportunities Haskins have provided me. Since joining 14 years ago, I have regularly been given new challenges and chances to progress my career within the business.”

is the third time that Tony has clinched the award, having had previous successes in 2019 and 2015. The runners-up were Julie McLean who covers Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Oxford and surrounding areas. Third place went to Andy Looby who is responsible for sales in the Midlands. The awards are based on a system that rewards continual growth over a 12-month period. The awards were announced during the Garland

Products’ annual sales meeting, which this year took place for the first time by video link.

Samsung bolsters its climate solutions team

Samsung has welcomed Barry Hunt and Joe Stiles as sales managers to its growing Climate Solutions team. Hunt has been in the air conditioning industry for 15 years, starting at Mitsubishi Electric as a pre-sales technical engineer before progressing into account management three years later. His most recent role was as sales manager for the North West, a position he held for almost six years.

Joe Stiles also joins Samsung after eight years in the HVAC industry, with his most recent position held as contractor account

manager with Mitsubishi Electric, where he was responsible for contractor sales. His new role will look to secure new business for the team covering the London Region.


being put into furlough schemes due to the pandemic, Wickes is rolling out its successful internal programme to the nation. The newly extended Apprenticeship Scheme is designed to provide opportunities to those in Wickes’ local communities, to help bridge the gap in unemployment. The Customer Experience

programme will provide apprentices a nationally recognised Level 2 Apprenticeship in Retail to help

build their careers. Training will also be carried out virtually adhering to measures put


place due to Covid. To evolve it’s apprenticeship

programme, Customer Experience is currently being trialled by internal colleagues who work part time, making Wickes one of the only retailers to offer this flexibility to balance home commitments. Taking up to two years to complete, the aspiration for this version is to be offered to external applicants in 2021. Apprentices

will be

able to earn and learn on the course, giving them the tools to apply their knowledge to real life situations in store, without having to sacrifice their working hours to do so.

The scheme will allow Wickes to continuously upskill the

workforce, maintain a high level of customer service and to give back to local communities by offering employment and training to those who want it most. Applications for the January 2021 intake of the

Apprenticeship Scheme is now open. For more information on the Wickes Apprenticeship Scheme and for applications forms, visit https:// Apprenticeships.

Henry Bell wins one-year contract with FMG Group

High quality pet, wild bird food and accessories producer, Henry Bell has secured a one- year contract with independent garden centre group, Future Marketing Group (FMG). As of November 2020, Henry Bell will be the primary supplier of wild bird care for FMG’s 20 nationwide garden centres, supplying its full range of over 130 products.

Thomas Lee, Managing

Director of Henry Bell, commented: “We’re thrilled to

be the primary wild bird care supplier for FMG. We have always supported independent

garden centres, however there is no greater time to support

independent retailers

than now. FMG’s 20 garden centre members are all hugely important for their communities, so we look forward to bringing our premium range of Henry Bell Wild Bird Care products to their loyal customers.” Henry Bell Wild Bird Care launched in July 2019. The British, family-owned quality animal feed producer offers 130 quality products that cater

for every type of garden bird, all designed with health and wellbeing of birds in mind. Future

Marketing Group

(FMG) is a marketing and buying group, which launched in 1997 when a group of independent garden centre owners came together with the primary aim of working jointly on marketing projects. Today the group has evolved predominantly into a buying group, which is mutually run by each of its 20 garden centre members.

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