IKO People

Employee Testimonials

Glen Cropper (Apprentice) - Mechanical Engineering
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Glen Cropper- Mechanical Engineering Apprentice enjoys the responsibility to go on-site and fixing machines, but knows this wouldn’t be possible without listening and learning to his colleagues:

1. Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became an apprentice…

I like getting my hands dirty and fixing machines and other items like this so I decided to go to college to study Level 2 mechanical engineering. Half way through my course my tutor at college asked me if I would like to apply for an apprenticeship at a local company as they were looking for someone.  I applied and had 2 interviews and got the job and started my apprenticeship on the 12th January 2015.

2. Over the course of your apprenticeship what have been some of your most memorable moments?

Over the course of my apprenticeship I have had a lot of memorable moments within the company including meeting new people at work who have helped me to become better at the jobs I do and teach me different ways of doing the job to make it easier. Others were when I’ve been given the responsibility to go to site and fix the machines.

3. What’s it been like working with IKO and studying for your qualification?

The company has been really good to work for and they look after you and help you out with all your work and help you to learn so you can be the best you can be. The company will look after you.  Studying for my level 2 and 3 have been interesting as you have a lot of work to do for college and trying to fit that into your work life and social life can be hard but you always find ways of doing this and working everything out correctly to get good results.

4. What advice would you give to new apprentices?

Work hard and try to fit into the team and make friends as this will help you through your apprenticeship and people will help you if you help them.

Jason Armitt (Apprentice) - Mechanical Engineering

Jason Armitt – Mechanical Engineering Apprentice is looking to the future and a successful career in Mechanical Engineering and is always keen to further his experiences within IKO:

1. Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became an apprentice…

I have always had an interest in engineering and this drove me to apply for a level 2 Mechanical Engineering course at Chesterfield College which I successfully got accepted on to.A few months in IKO contacted my tutor saying they were looking for an apprentice. My tutor then told me about this opportunity and set up a trial week for me to work on site and during my work experience they decided that they were happy for me to work full time for them. That is how I became an apprentice at IKO.

2. Over the course of your apprenticeship what have been some of your most memorable moments?

One of the most memorable moments in my apprenticeship is when I helped to fabricate and install an extension to the cooling tower. It took a few weeks to do and plenty of planning but it was great to see it all coming together knowing that what we were doing would benefit everyone on site by the volume of trays used to produce meaning more product could be pushed out.

3. What’s it been like working with IKO and studying for your qualification?

I have enjoyed working at IKO so far because I am constantly learning new things and getting great experience working on different machinery and maintaining the plant. Everyone I work with is always happy to help and explain to me how different pieces of equipment and machinery work. Studying at college has given me great knowledge on mechanical principles, engineering drawings and plenty more. They often go into a lot of detail which can be difficult but once you understand it, it becomes much easier and interesting to learn about.

4. Now that you’re qualified, what does the future hold for you? / What does your future hold once you are qualified?

I am hoping that once I qualify I will be taken on as a full time maintenance engineer at IKO and will be able to continue to try and help the company to move forward and come up with new ideas on how to make the plant run more efficiently. Also I would like to gain more experience working on the plant and other machines used on site.

5. What advice would you give to new apprentices?

My advice to new apprentices is always listen to what the people around you are telling you and also, watch what they do whilst they’re working as you can find out a lot of helpful information from them as they have many years of experience and are more than likely going to know how to solve the problem.

Daniel Pegg (Former Apprentice) - Multi-Skilled Engineer
Daniel Pegg (former Apprentice) -Multi Skilled Engineer

Daniel Pegg (Former Apprentice) – Multi-Skilled Engineer has already completed his IKO apprenticeship and advises anyone looking to learn to listen to work colleagues and learn from their experience and knowledge:

1. Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became an apprentice…

My names Daniel I am 23 years old, I started my apprenticeship in 2010 and finished in 2014, I studied mechanical engineering, and worked for IKO PLC. I had just finished my GCSEs had 1 week off and then IKO employed me straight away.

As a teenager I always wanted to be a mechanic/engineer, I was always messing around with bikes, cars, motorbikes anything I could get my hands onto would be stripped down just to see and understand how everything works.

I became an apprentice mainly because my dad is an engineer and he did an apprenticeship when he was starting work. I always thought it was far better earning money while you learn a skill and qualifications. As my dad was head of his department I think he persuaded the manager to look into employing an apprentice, luckily for me they did.

2. Over the course of your apprenticeship what have been some of your most memorable moments?

There have lots of memorable moments some at college, some at work, and some going out with the lads from work. One of the memorable moments was collecting an award from Chesterfield College for apprentice of the year in the engineering sector.

Another memorable moment would be the first day the new factory started production knowing that I had some input into making that happen.

3. What’s it been like working with IKO and studying for your qualification?

During my apprenticeship I have truly enjoyed every minute of it. The college side of the apprenticeship was difficult and challenging but IKO were there to support me and help me. The work side of the apprenticeship has been a steep learning curve but with some patience IKO have helped me gain experience and skill in the engineering sector, whether it be by working with senior fitters or by letting me work alone, watching the plant and how it works.

4. Now that you’re qualified, what does the future hold for you? / What does your future hold once you are qualified?

Now I am qualified IKO employed me a shift fitter, IKO have put me through a lot of other courses which benefit me and them. They have then put me on an electrical course to help me develop my skills and now I am currently a multi-skilled shift fitter. I would like to keep climbing the career ladder in engineering and keep evolving as an engineer learning new skills and knowledge.

5. What advice would you give to new apprentices?

My advice would be to listen to your senior work colleagues whether they are production, engineering or other; they have a lot of knowledge to give.

Sonia Marsden (Former Apprentice) - Designer
Sonia Marsden (fromer Apprentice) - Designer

Sonia Marsden joined IKO as an apprentice and soon gained a degree level qualification, which has allowed her to offer customers a better level service. Here’s what Sonia has to say:

1. Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became an apprentice…

I had just finished my foundation degree at Wigan and Leigh College when my tutor notified me of a job vacancy within IKO. I hadn’t actually heard of the company before but I did some research, sent in my application and ended up with an interview. At the interview I discussed my options for academic progression and how I would fit in within the team. I got the job and after a couple of months settling in, I ended up asking if I could complete my degree instead of doing the C.I.A.T course which we had previously agreed on… the following September I started a top-up degree at Bolton University.

2. Over the course of your apprenticeship what have been some of your most memorable moments?

There have been numerous memorable moments – working in an office environment is an experience in itself sometimes! I have also enjoyed going out on site visits and trying out our products in practical training sessions.

3. What’s it been like working with IKO and studying for your qualification?

It has been hard work to juggle both uni and working full time, particularly during exam times and around coursework deadlines. But IKO have been supportive; various other members of the technical team have helped me out and offered their expertise.

4. Now that you’re qualified, what does the future hold for you? / What does your future hold once you are qualified?

My qualification has helped me to understand other aspects of the construction industry, which has enabled me to offer a better service to customers and clients. Now that my degree has been completed, I hope that I can continue to learn and develop my knowledge with more of a specialism to my role.

5. What advice would you give to new apprentices?

There are no silly questions; if you’re not sure ask for help – there is always someone who can offer a new perspective or help to point you in the right direction.

Ben Simpson (Apprentice) - Designer
Ben Simpson - Apprentice Designer

Ben Simpson (Apprentice Designer) explains what it is like working for IKO and hands out some advice for anyone looking to start an apprenticeship:

1. Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became an apprentice…

My name is Ben Simpson and I had just finished my level 3 qualifications in Civil Engineering and Construction. Once I had finished this course I looked to expand my knowledge and experience through an apprenticeship within the construction industry. I managed to find the apprenticeship offer from IKO and luckily got the job after my interview

2. Over the course of your apprenticeship what have been some of your most memorable moments?

I have had some memorable moments since staring my apprenticeship with IKO, some of these have been when getting to know my colleagues and learning about how the working environment runs day to day basis.

3. What’s it been like working with IKO and studying for your qualification?

Working for IKO has been very relaxed and calm as I have been allowed time to adapt to the role and given opportunities to work on my college qualification during the apprenticeship. The training in the job is very much done through experience and I feel has helped me understand first-hand general tasks and how to tackle them on a daily basis. Although the job can be busy I am still allowed time to work on any of my college studies.

4. Now that you’re qualified, what does the future hold for you? / What does your future hold once you are qualified?

I hope to continue to work in the construction industry and progress knowledge and experience through IKO. After I have completed my college course I feel I will be fully competent and knowledgeable to a reasonable extent in the construction industry.

5. What advice would you give to new apprentices?

I would advise that you speak to your colleagues and get to know everyone in your place of work as it helps to feel comfortable in your workplace when you are familiar with the people around you. Not only does this help you settle in but it also helps when seeking advice and help in the job when you can openly speak to your colleagues with confidence.

Charlene Teather Customer Services Administrator (IKO Polymeric)
Charlene Teather - Customer Services Administrator - IKO Polymeric

I joined the business a year ago as I was unhappy with my previous work conditions and wanted a more administrative position. When I attended the interview I felt that the role, working hours and conditions sounded more suited to my needs and I was also impressed by the modern building.

One year on and I am still very happy with the company who have now offered me the opportunity to move into another role giving fresh challenges and a wider insight into the business. The Chesterfield office in which I work is made up of a very friendly, happy team who are always willing to support and help each other.

The company is a family owned business that really values customers and employees alike. Although based in Canada, we get regular visits from the family owners which, is a very rare thing in most companies. There is no feeling of a ‘them and us’ culture between owners, management and other employees. All employees are made to feel valued as individuals.

In the year that I have worked for IKO I have achieved an employee of the month award, been a part of our division’s 10 year celebrations and have accepted the opportunity to move from Reception Administrator to Customer Service Administrator. I have seen the company expand with the manufacture of new products, an increase in customer base and an increase in number of employees.

In my spare time, I enjoy a wide range of keep fit activities from dancing, running, group classes and one on one training sessions. I like to set myself goals and targets within these areas and push myself. I run half marathons which keep me on track with my goals. I also enjoy meals out with my partner and family.

Andrew Furlong - Warehouse Supervisor
Andrew Furlong - Warehouse Supervisor

I started working at Permanite Asphalt on the 28th March 1988 as a mastic asphalt floorman.

Since then I have had numerous positions within the company culminating in our move to Grangemill and promotion to Warehouse Supervisor in May 2014.

One of the reasons for staying with the company is, I feel a valued member of staff and I have always embraced the training and opportunities that IKO have offered.
I also feel that all of us at Grangemill can look forward to a successful future and I will always be looking to further myself within the company.

Mark Waring - Finance Director
Mark Waring - Financial Director

I joined IKO in January 2006 in the role of Management Accountant working within the finance team at Appley Bridge. Back then, the finance team was very much a back office function that focused primarily on reporting and compliance, however as the business has grown over the past 10 years, the finance team has had to adapt accordingly and has since grown into a commercially aware, forward thinking, value adding department. Looking back over these years, I am immensely proud of the part that I have played in this.

IKO really is a great company to work for. During my time at IKO, I have been supported through my professional studies, as well as giving me the challenges, experience, knowledge and skills necessary for me to develop into the business leader I am today.

IKO recognises the importance of investing in its people, and provides the opportunity for each and every member of its team to fulfil their potential and maximise their talents. Because of this I believe that I work alongside some of the most talented and hard-working individuals within the industry. I am proud to be part of the IKO family.

Toyin Abioye - Human Resources Officer
Toyin Abioye - Human Resources Officer

I started off my HR career in the manufacturing industry about 12 years ago, having worked as a temp shortly after leaving university.

I joined IKO PLC in September 2013 and was highly impressed by the information gleaned on the website. I was particularly drawn to the company’s values of Integrity, Knowledge and Opportunity, the pledge to invest in their employees and create opportunities for professional growth. This coupled with the innovation, culture and social responsibility to name a few, are some of the reasons why I joined IKO.

On commencement of employment it was evident that IKO is a family run business with family friendly policies and one cannot help but notice the “feel good/feel at home” factor which radiates within our work place. The company has declared its unwavering commitment and responsibility in investing in new product solutions, facilities and its people. I believe IKO’s untiring support in developing employees guarantees employee loyalty and a genuine interest in giving the best to the company.

In my short but interesting time here, I have quickly settled in and been privileged to undertake stimulating projects like the employee engagement survey, updates of policies and procedures to ensure they are fit for purpose, relevant and beneficial to our employees, salary benchmarking to bring some transparency into our salary grading structure and making an impressive impact on absenteeism.

Our proactive HR team attend regular employment law seminars/webinars to keep up to date with ever changing laws & regulations in the workplace and to ensure employees are treated fairly and compassionately. I think IKO’s remunerations and benefits are competitive when benchmarked with similar industries. I find working at IKO interesting and inspiring, I also mainly enjoy working in my supportive team where we strive to support employees and managers.

Bryn Apperley - Production Manager

I started working for Permanite Asphalt on the 17th September 1985, initially for two weeks while the shift patterns were worked out for the ‘new’ automated plant.  30 years later I’m still here.

After spending 15 years in the Auto Plant, I moved into the Laboratory and then into the office as Production Supervisor.

In January 2013 I was offered, and gladly accepted, the position of Production Manager. This was a tremendous step-up for me and I will always be indebted to IKO for the opportunity. The position is extremely varied juggling between efficiencies and recoveries, but with the team we are putting together, along with an excellent sales team, the future for Grangemill looks particularly bright.

Andy Coles - Senior Field Engineer (IKO Polymeric)
Andy Coles - Senior Field Engineer - IKO Polymeric

After working 30 years in the single-ply industry both as a fitter and a contracts manager, I came to a -position in my career in which I needed a new challenge.

Having worked with the IKO Polymeric team as a contractor, I was familiar with the company and the products.  I was very impressed from the outside looking in and could see the company doing nothing but grow as it had in previous years. When the opportunity to join as a Field engineer became available it didn’t take much persuasion for me to accept the position.

Everyone at IKO is friendly and helpful with employees from the shop floor to Senior Management who are more than happy to help if required with the feel of a family business. The company values its employees and offer training and support to all individuals to progress with skills that enable them to be more efficient and comfortable with their job.

After joining IKO Polymeric in June 2013 I have enjoyed working for the company and with my colleagues and have seen the company grow an extraordinary amount in such a short time.

With the increase in employees to accommodate this, I was offered and accepted the position of Senior Field Engineer and have embraced the roll and I’m enjoying the new challenges that come with it.

I regard myself lucky to enjoy the job I do with a company like IKO and believe we are the best at what we do in the industry with the best products.

Jack Gaskell - Maintenance Engineer

I joined IKO in August 2010 aged 16. During my last year at school my family and I moved to Appley Bridge. My ambition at school was to pursue a career in engineering and try to get an apprenticeship with a progressive company where I could develop my career. I applied to IKO after I had moved to Appley Bridge and was happy to get the opportunity of an apprenticeship.

Nearly five years on, aged 21, it is good to reflect on my experiences during my apprenticeship and look at what I have achieved with the company’s help over those years. Making the transition from school to the workplace I am sure is a challenge for everyone.

In my case it was made so much easier by living just around the corner from the factory and how I was welcomed into the company by my work colleagues. With the support of colleagues around me during the first few months I settled into my role, and their continued encouragement has allowed me to successfully complete my 4 year apprenticeship.

The company’s progressive approach to training and development has allowed me to attend many courses relevant to my role and working in a factory environment. I was encouraged to be part of the company’s health and safety committee which has given me the opportunity to learn other aspects of the job and interact with other people in the business.

I am thankful for how the business has welcomed and supported me in my first five years and I look forward to a long and successful career with IKO. In my spare time, I box in the lightweight category and train at the Eckersley Mill Gym in Wigan.

Leah Birchall-Hart - ERP

After completing school and further education I wasn’t sure university would be for me, so I began the search for an apprenticeship as a temporary solution until I decided exactly what path I wanted to take.

I started working for IKO in 2012 as a Sales Support Apprentice. IKO fully supported me through my apprenticeship and once complete I was offered a full time position within the sales support department and decided against the idea of university. Within my apprenticeship I gained life, social and professional experience that no classroom could provide me with.

The sales support department is a really enjoyable, friendly place to work. We have a strong bond and team approach to our day to day jobs which makes it a very pleasant and comforting place to work.

In 2015 I was promoted to Sales Support Advisor, concentrating solely on insulation sales and logistics. This role has provided me with much more responsibility, as well as allowing me to develop my skills and broaden my knowledge.

Recently, I have also been selected to represent the UK as part of the global implementation team for a new ERP system. This will involve a large amount of global travel and it is something that I will be heavily involved in over the next couple of years. I have found it a great privilege and honour to have been chosen to take on this responsibility and I am excited for the future opportunities this will provide me with.
Marcus Lee – Sales Director, (Hot Melt & Mastic Asphalt)
Marcus Lee - Sales Director Hot Melt & Mastic Asphalt

I am proud to work for IKO, a family company that has invested so much in both me and the UK business.

In 2002 I’d decided I wanted to move into sales, having a civil engineering and construction background. I was delighted later that year when IKO (Permanite Asphalt) offered me a sales position.  Permanite had explained they valued bringing fresh individuals into the business that they could shape and mould to their business.

I joined Permanite in 2003 working for the mastic asphalt business. I worked in this team MarcusLee.jpgfor 3 years gaining valuable roofing and sales experience. During that same period Permanite were developing PermaTEC our own hot melt offer and in 2006 I was given the opportunity to become part of a new PermaTEC sales team. During those first 2 – 3 years we were given the responsibility for developing and promoting that system. In that period I learnt a lot about research & development and marketing and gained valuable commercial experience.

By 2009 the IKO Permatec brand had firmly established itself in the market and we continued to grow the brand by developing new relationships with main contractors. This greatly assisted in furthering my commercial experience.

By 2012 the IKO Permatec team had grown in numbers and I was given the role of PermaTEC product manager with the responsibility of managing the team.

In 2014 I was provided with the commercial responsibility for the IKO’s Grangemill facility, I can now look back and see how much IKO as a company has invested in me and the experience it has given me as an individual.

‘It’s the strength of our people that really lie at the heart of IKO’s achievements.’

Andy Williamson - BMBI Round Table Event 2016

‘It’s the strength of our people that really lie at the heart of IKO’s achievements. Throughout the business, in every department, our teams strive to provide a level of service which sets the standard within the construction industry. By recruiting and retaining exceptional people, we develop, grow and invest to maintain a position we endeavour to maintain.’

Andy Williamson
Managing Director
IKO PLC