Take a risk and get out of your comfort zone – that’s the message from AFGRI Equipment – Perth sales representative Ellie Vance. After a standout 2021 filled with new challenges as well as many highlights, including winning AFGRI’s Small Ag Salesperson of the Year at our annual awards function, Ellie posed this statement to others looking at getting into the agriculture industry. After attending WA College of Agriculture – Cunderdin for years 11 and 12, Ellie joined AFGRI Equipment at our Wongan Hills branch to undertake a two-year parts traineeship. Ellie was one of the first to take part in this course, which incorporated on-the-job training at the dealership as well as attending Central Regional TAFE – Moora working towards a Certificate III in Automotive Parts Sales. This was in addition to John Deere University online courses for specialised learning on Deere products and processes. “I learnt a lot really quickly, especially about how seasonal the industry can be and it was really good to learn more about what makes the machines work the way they do,” Ellie said. “Besides the wear parts and consumables, you learn a lot about the diagnostics and running around with the technicians, you get a bit more of a hands-on experience.” After completing her traineeship, Ellie transitioned into selling machinery taking on a new position at our Perth branch. Her new role, a customer sales representative (CSR), involved selling small ag parts, but also included a sales component which she enjoyed. After excelling, before long an opportunity became available and Ellie was promoted to sales representative looking after 80-200 horsepower tractors, along with hay, seeding and tillage equipment. Ellie said not to be worried about any perceptions and to trust in your training and experience you have gathered, also expressing the gratitude for the support she had received from her colleagues over the course of her career in the industry so far. “It’s a bit intimidating sometimes because a farmer will ring up wanting to talk tractors with somebody and I say ‘that’s me’,” she said. “I’m 22 and a girl and I’m telling someone who is 65 and has been driving tractors since not long after they could crawl, the best way to operate it and look after it. “I was told by a customer once that I’m very disarming in a good way. “I don’t like being pushy - I’m here to help.” From her experiences, Ellie encouraged others who are thinking about getting into the industry, specifically on the sales side, it’s something worth considering. “It feels fantastic to be a part of this industry and working on the sales side of things,” she said. “I would encourage any girls who are thinking about it but not sure if it would work just to give it a red-hot go and see what happens.” Ellie said she enjoys field days where she helps demonstrate tractors and machinery, but the best part of her job is delivering a new tractor to a client. “When it gets there on the tilt-tray, I basically have to start it up and drive it off then explain to the owner or operator ‘here’s how you run it, here’s how to look after it,” she said. “I don’t like leaving if they still have ‘how to’ questions. “It feels very rewarding helping customers get the most out of their new machines straight off the bat - it’s the part of the job I love the most.” For more information on our recruitment programs and current vacancies available, please visit our website at www.afgri.com.au today.