Scottish wholesalers vow to keep up pace of mentoring scheme

Benson: “Wholesaling is not hi-tech or sexy”

The Scottish Wholesale Association has vowed to increase its focus on mentoring and training following the early success of its Mentoring Trust scheme.

Mentoring Trust was launched a year ago and is currently mentoring four people: Fiona MacFarlane from Forteith Foodservice Stuart Harrison from JW Filshill Paul Dickson from Booker and Waqas Khawaja from United Wholesale Scotland.

Since joining, they have had one-to-one sessions to discuss goals, as well as unlimited telephone support.

Speaking at the SWA’s annual conference this week, outgoing SWA president George Benson said: “The trust provides unique development opportunities for employees of SWA member organisations who have a drive for ambition within the industry. Mentoring is happening on the job so our mentees are realising their own capability and potential.”

He added that people were the “lifeblood” of the future of wholesaling in Scotland.

“Wholesaling is not a hi-tech, sexy industry,” he said. “Some might say it’s not even cutting-edge, but as a business we need to be on-trend - and by mentoring and training we might just be able to hold on to them long-term and create the trust with our suppliers that will give us a competitive advantage.”

Benson also said he wanted those on the mentoring scheme to learn to take risks. “I believe it should be the role of all senior managers to understand and clearly articulate the rationale for positive risk-taking.”