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Meet the industry specialist: James Clarke

James Clarke recently completed the Close Brothers Asset Finance Sales Academy. Here he share his experience and tell us which equipment is currently most in demand.


Tell us a bit of about your work history…

I started my career as a Mechanical Designer apprentice within Jacobs Engineering. Before graduating, I spent four years learning the ins and outs of the mechanical engineering industry.

Having always had an interest in the finance industry, I transitioned within the business to become a cost engineer. I spent two years of this on a secondment at the Fawley refinery in Southampton, working directly with the customer and assisting in some major changes within the company’s systems across Europe and India.

From here I made the jump into sales, providing managed print services to SME’s across the country. It was two years into my previous role that I came across the Close Brothers Sales Academy and couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

What aspects of the Close Brothers Sales Academy have you found the most valuable?

Within the academy we’ve had the privilege of getting to work with some amazing businesses throughout our first few months of training, as well as our vastly experienced internal stakeholders.

Day to day, one of the most important and valuable aspects has been working with our ‘buddies’ and ‘mentors’. From attending meetings with them and getting face to face with Close Brothers customers, understanding why they work with us, to observing day to day activities of Area Sales Managers (ASM) within Close Brothers.

What assets are you finding are currently most in demand?

Through the last 4-5 months of the Academy, I’ve been working with manufacturing businesses across the spectrum. One of the great parts of working within the manufacturing industry is the wide array of equipment we can and have funded, everything from textiles and food to woodwork and general engineering.

What do you think 2022 holds for the Manufacturing Industry?

This coming year is going to be an interesting one, Brexit and the pandemic have had a varied impact on businesses. However, from speaking with customers, the general consensus within the industry is positive. For the SME’s in the country that have taken a hit over the last 18-24 months, asset finance is going to be key to helping them recover and grow.