IKO People

Employee Testimonials

Alex Hill (Apprentice) - Mechanical Engineering
Alex Hill (Apprentice) - Mechanical Engineering

Alex’s interest in Engineering came from family ties and a presentation that got him hooked. What else is there to know about being an apprentice?

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

I am Alex and I am 20 years old. I became an apprentice because I always found my dad’s job interesting and wanted to follow in his footsteps. Paul, the Engineering Manager, came into college to give a speech on IKO and I was hooked!

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

Some of my most memorable moments have been during the shutdown periods, allowing me to learn all about how the factory works and how to complete major tasks.

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

It’s been fantastic working with IKO as everyone is friendly and very open to help each other. They will also help with college work if I am struggling and will be there every step of the way.

4. What does your future hold once you are qualified?

When I am qualified, I hope to go on shift with the other engineers and be competent and responsible enough to carry out jobs on my own.

5. What advice would you give to new apprentices?

To show willing, always work hard and just enjoy your apprenticeship.

Adam Jennings (Apprentice) - Mechanical Engineering
Adam Jennings (Apprentice) - Mechanical Engineering

As an apprentice, Adam likes getting his hands dirty, but also enjoys talking to colleagues at Christmas parties.

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

My name is Adam and I am very enthusiastic and love getting hands on. Also, I enjoy working on projects at home. I first got introduced to IKO at college and gave my CV in there.

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

There have been many memorable moments for me at IKO such as going to Bury to do a Confined Space Vessel Entry course. I also really enjoy the Christmas parties because everyone is so friendly.

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

I have really enjoyed my time with IKO and they have really helped me through my Level 3 qualification because of the friendly Maintenance Team which help me when I’m struggling.

4. What does your future hold once you are qualified?

When I become qualified I aspire to be a fitter on the Maintenance Team and hopefully one day become part of the Management team.

5. What advice would you give to new apprentices?

Work hard, keep your head down at college and write things down on a note pad when being taught things.

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.

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?

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. 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.

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.

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 for 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.

At IKO, our corporate philosophy, vision and values are universal, embraced by all members of our global family.

IKO’s manufacturing facilities don’t operate in isolation; they collaborate to ensure their technologies are aligned in order to consistently deliver high-quality products no matter where they’re made – plant-to-plant, even batch-to-batch. Stringent quality controls are tightly monitored and enforced in every plant.

Jon Pickup - H&S