WG Davies Staff in the Spotlight : Sarah Blockwell steps into the spotlight
Many will know Sarah as the Depot Manager at the newly refurbished WG Davies Tenby depot, but what you might not know is that she started at WG Davies almost 15 years ago as an Apprentice Technician, a role she relished.
“I loved it. It was obviously more of a challenge for me being a woman, at the time, you didn’t see many women working on the tools, so it was interesting seeing the reaction of some of the customers who were expecting to see a man emerge from the pit!”
Sarah describes her first trip to college as an apprentice as “One of the scariest things I’ve ever done. I was the only woman and there were about 250 guys, who I had to mingle with and then, at the end of the day, they chuck you into a taxis and you get out at some random house where you are put up overnight for the next two weeks.”
The move from the workshop to the office was not Sarah’s original ambition, she went from working as a Technician to Service Administrator and then Workshop Controller through necessity “I’d had my little boy, Ethan, and I came back to work a lot earlier than I should have done – he was only seven weeks old – but I couldn’t afford to stay home. I’d gone from being paid a technician’s wage, to statutory maternity pay and as a single mum, it didn’t even cover my rent”. She was not sure if office work was for her but happily for Sarah and for WG Davies it worked out, “I met with Andrew and Roger and they offered me the position of Depot Manager but I was not sure it was for me, so I asked them for a three month trial and I’ve never looked back. Ethan will be nine in March”. Things are a little bit easier these days as Sarah shares her life with her partner who she met as a customer of WG Davies, “He used to bring lorries up to Tenby to be steam cleaned and that’s how I met him”.
Sarah is a great example of how, with the right attitude you can progress through the ranks to positions of real responsibility at WG Davies. And the business continues to believe in her as she is currently completing an Applied Business Diploma, a 12 month course which represents a significant investment by WG Davies. “If I’m honest, WG Davies have always been really good with me, I’ve been here 15 years and that in itself speaks volumes. If I need something, they will sort it out. A great example of that was when I asked for a laptop. I was struggling because Ethan was quite poorly for a time and I was having to leave work very promptly to look after him, so I asked for a one to enable me to take my work home and shortly afterwards Andrew rocked up here with a laptop”.
There is undoubtedly a real family feel to working at WG Davies and Sarah recalls a time when she was sick and ended up in hospital “WG’s were amazing, I honestly couldn’t fault them. I had Roger texting me every day asking how I was and encouraging me to rest up and get better, even at the weekends. Andrew and Rachel were the same. They never once put any pressure on me to come back before I was well enough”.
We wanted to ask Sarah what she does to relax but clearly outside of work and looking after her little boy there is time only for sleep! “I don’t stop. Ethan plays for three different football teams. Along with that then he plays rugby and then I try and go to the gym to train three times a week as well.” But she has had some good holidays, “We went to Cyprus at the end of September and also went to the Isle of Man to watch the TT. We camped over there and had a really good time. Funnily enough, some of our drivers go every year and we met up with them for a few beers as well”.
Chatting with Sarah just before Christmas we asked Sarah what she would wish for, for Tenby, “Given the recent investment in the site, I would say it’s pretty close to perfect now but we could do with more customers and I believe the addition of tank testing will bring us that. There is a massive gap in our market and we will be the only depot to offer that service for the best part of 100mile radius.”
And finally, we asked her to tell us something about Tenby that we don’t already know: “When Roger bought this place, it came with a dog and he actually had to agree to do right by the dog for as long as the dog lived. I don’t really know how many people know about that”. Which begs the question, did she actually work alongside this dog? “Not for long! I turned up here, it was my first day and we all came through the door and the dog wasn’t very well. Sadly, it never came back from the vet!”
Thanks for stepping into the WG Davies Staff Spotlight Sarah.