Real Model Interview featuring Michelle Hazeldean, Regional Aftersales Development Manager at TrustFord

Michelle Hazeldean
In this Real Model interview, we had the pleasure of catching up with Michelle Hazeldean, Regional Aftersales Development Manager at TrustFord, to hear more about her interesting career.

Michelle trained to become a Vehicle Technician in 1993, but as women in the workshop weren't common back then, she was told that she couldn't join the company she wanted to, as they already had a female technician. Despite this, Michelle has had a varied automotive career, now working as a Regional Aftersales Development Manager. In this feature, Michelle also expresses her love for helping and coaching her colleagues and advises women to throw themselves in when looking to progress in automotive.

Can you give us a brief overview of your career?

I started my career in college, back in 1993, studying to be a vehicle technician, I did 3 years completing a BTEC in Motor Vehicle Engineering.

During my college years I got to work with a large automotive group doing work experience, but unfortunately women in a workshop at that time were not common and I was told that as they already had one woman, they would not take on anymore.

I then volunteered to work in a commercial vehicle workshop on Saturdays to gain experience, I did this for the best part of a year. After this I took an Apprentice Service Advisor role. I found mentors, took on feedback and studied further to enhance my skills in the customer service area, leading to a series of promotions.

In my career I have been a Bodyshop Supervisor, Workshop Controller, a Service Team Leader and an Assistant Aftersales Manger, plus a trainer of Aftersales systems and processes.

I have recently been promoted to Regional Aftersales Development Manager – a personal goal since joining TrustFord in 2019. To achieve this I spoke with colleagues, my own manager and other managers in the business to understand the training and development I would need to be a successful applicant, put a plan in place and developed the skills to be in the best position when an opportunity became available.

I am also currently studying a Management and Leadership course in my own time.

What is the favourite thing about working in the automotive industry?

Initially, I was attracted to the automotive industry through my love of cars and engines. My favourite thing about being a Service Advisor was giving customers great service and having the technical knowledge myself really helped me to give customers the best possible experience.

Now my favourite thing about this industry is how rewarding it can be to help and coach colleagues to deliver TrustFord’s purpose – we drive the standard in customer care.

What advice would you give to a woman wanting to progress in the automotive sector?

Don’t fear this industry, it’s a very rewarding place to work and I’m so pleased that it is changing and becoming more diverse and inclusive.

Being a woman doesn’t give you any less right to work and progress in automotive. If you want progression then throw yourself into it like you would any other job! Easy! The team I work with! We are like a family, we all support each other and keep each other smiling when we do have those tough days

Why do you think it is important for the automotive sector to have a better diverse gender mix?

A diverse gender mix at work means there are different opinions, perspectives and approaches that can be shared and adapted to help us all achieve our goals. Our customers are diverse, therefore our team members should reflect this also.

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