An interview with Alice Riding at Monaco VW in central London


An interview with Alice Riding at Monaco VW in central London

Monaco VW is an official Volkswagen service and repair dealership using genuine VW parts and accessories, set in the heart of the West End of London. FOXY Lady Approved of course, we think it might be one of the most picturesque settings on our network; in a photogenic cobbled mews.

Alice is Monaco VW’s female business ambassador so we wanted to know how she found herself working here…

What is your job and what does this entail?

My current role is a service executive. This basically means I’m the intermediary between customers and the technicians. I take bookings for MOTs, car servicing and all sorts of mechanical repairs. This means I answer all sorts of car-related queries, deal with customers, manage the workshop and conduct all the background checks. As I am the only lady in the office there are times I need to take the lead when it comes to liaising with our female clientele – very often many women clearly prefer to speak to a female.

Did you always want to work in the motor industry ie how did this come about?

As I was growing up I always had an interest in cars, but it was never something I actually considered until someone I knew in the trade suggested I give it a go. From then on it was all I thought about. Once I get an idea in my head I find it really hard to forget.

I started applying for jobs and I was fortunate enough to land a trainee service adviser role at Jaguar which gave me a thorough grounding in this area.

Tell us about your career progression.

I first entered the motor trade in May 2013 in a trainee role at Jaguar. I was really lucky to have a fantastic mentor and a great team so I picked things up really quickly.

I worked there for a year and then Monaco VW approached me and asked if I would be interested in a role. From my first day I was thrown in at the deep end where I learned to swim very quickly! It was a great opportunity and I really appreciated the trust they placed in me.

During my time at Jaguar I simply followed orders. In my current job I have to think on my feet and make decisions while managing other tasks. I’m also in charge of the front desk so things can get quite busy but I really enjoy the independence and the opportunity to progress.

Would you say that the industry is more female friendly than it used to be?

The industry is definitely male dominated however I think as more woman get into the business it will show others that this job isn’t just for men. There is no doubt in my mind as well that having a female at the front desk really helps business; dealerships can be quite intimidating and I think having a woman at the front makes it look more welcoming.

What advice would you give young women about career opportunities in the motor industry?

Just go for it! When I first started out I was told I wouldn’t get into the industry unless I was tall, pretty and blonde and only wanted to ‘meet and greet.’ That was rubbish – there seems to be this view that women know nothing about cars and never will. The truth is everyone has to start somewhere.

If you’ve got a passion, don’t let people knock you down and put you off. There are still occasions when male customers refuse to talk to me because I’m a girl. I used to let it get to me but now I take great joy in proving them wrong and answering their questions. Funnily enough, some of those customers are now the ones I have the best relationships with.

How do you switch off after a stressful week at work?

My weekends are usually quite quiet by choice as I’m really busy during the week at Monaco VW. On a normal weekday I wake up at 5:30am and sometimes don’t get home until gone 7pm so once it gets to the weekend it’s nice to catch up on sleep! I do love seeing my friends though and my social life is the perfect distraction if you’ve had a stressful week at work.

Tell us about the cars you have driven and any you’ve particularly liked.

Luckily at Monaco we don’t just service VW’s which means I’ve had the opportunity to experience a lot of different cars and models. Of course it’s mainly the VW fleet but sometimes you get the odd Range Rover or BMW which is always nice!

My favourites from the VW fleet are definitely the new Golf GT and Touareg.

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Thank you Alice, especially for the encouraging comments should any females reading this be wondering about applying for a similar role in future.

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