HAI Certificate – Interview with Student and Mentor

Earlier this year at the inaugural HAI Certificate, two students received high-achieving awards for their participation in the programme. This issue we talk to Jamie O’Mahony from Walsh’s Homevalue, who was crowned “High Achieving Student”, and his mentor, about their experience and their motivations.

Student: Jamie O’Mahony, Sales Assistant at Walsh’s Homevalue Hardware.

How did you find your experience in the HAI Certificate in Hardware Retail and Merchanting?

The HAI Certificate has helped me a lot in my everyday job. I have learned a lot of small things I was doing wrong and expanded my knowledge on things I thought I was confident in. I have learned all types of skills like how listening to a customer and doing as little talking as possible can provide a better customer service.
I also have learned a lot about how having stock levels right, consistent and easy to access provides a much more efficient way of working.

Describe your reaction to winning your recent student award in the HAI Certificate in Hardware Retail and Merchanting

I was genuinely surprised but happy. I was not expecting to receive this award as my class was full of strong students. When I got back to work everyone was happy for me, customers, and
colleagues alike.
Receiving the award and participating in the course has been a key highlight of my career so far, as it has boosted my confidence and shown me if you work hard enough the results pay off. This is
going to drive me forward and keep pushing myself to be the best I can in my career.

John Walsh and Jamie O’Mahony with Jamie’s Award.

60. HAI Certificate Interview – Jamie O’Mahony and John Walsh

What were the main ‘career decision’ milestones in your life so far?

One of my main career decisions was realising retail and working with people was a job for me as I get great satisfaction out of helping people and providing them with a solution to their problem.
My subjects in school (Construction and Engineering) gave me an interest in the hardware sector and helped me easily adapt to the many different aspects of the sector.

What do you really like about your job?

I like the knowledge I have obtained from working here. Learning from both staff and customers has helped me in my everyday job in work and at home jobs e.g., how to plumb a tap.
The help I give to customers, seeing their appreciation, and seeing them come back through the doors knowing I will help them again really motivates me to be the best I can. Knowing that I am relied upon is a big achievement.

What advice would you give to someone considering a role similar to yours?

I think this job is very undervalued and should be considered a sought-after job.
In my opinion to do this job, an interest in proving high customer service and an interest in expanding knowledge is a must because there is a lot of information in this sector that you need to know.

What advice would you give to a peer considering enrolling in the HAI Certificate in Hardware Retail and Merchanting?

Do it. It doesn’t matter how little or how much you know; this course will help you find all the places where you can improve so you can become an overall better employee. Use the course to
your best ability, take what they’re saying and apply It to your work, and you’ll see how much you’ve improved.

Mentor: John Walsh, Managing Director – Walsh’s Homevalue Hardware.

How important, in your opinion, is it for a manager/supervisor to take on a mentorship role with their employees in their development?

I feel it is a very important aspect as it helps employees feel they are supported and have an open line of communication no matter how simple the question.

Has Jamie improved/grown in his skills/confidence over the course of the Certificate? If so, please explain.

I have been very impressed with how Jamie has progressed and developed over the duration of the course. He has gained an overall understanding of the business, grown in confidence and his skills dealing with customers has improved substantially.

What advice would you have for another employee, or a peer, who is considering involvement in the HAI Certificate as a student or mentor in the future?

I would advise them to sign up immediately and assure them that the work and effort will be well worth it.

For more information about the HAI Certificate in Hardware Retail and Merchanting, contact Aoife at aoife@hardwareassociation.ie or call 01 2980969.