Matt Smith is just one of a growing number of apprentices taking advantage of all that VEKA Group has to offer. Matt is a third-year apprentice in the customer service department. Here, he tells us why he chose a VEKA apprenticeship to launch his career.
Why did you choose to do an apprenticeship over any other development route, such as uni?
University didn't work out for me. I was tired of full time education after so many years, so I decided I'd prefer to learn in a hands-on workplace environment whilst also being paid. An apprenticeship seemed like a great way to learn, without being ‘stuck’ in a traditional academic environment. I’m learning specific skills for my role and providing valuable service to the company as I continue to progress. I enjoy earning the respect of my colleagues through hard work, more than I liked spending my days in a classroom or lecture hall.
What are achievements are you most proud of?
I'm most proud in the progress I've made in the two and a half years of working at VEKA. I feel I've come a long way in this time whilst also venturing out and working in various other departments such as Warehouse, Logistics, Purchasing and Commercial. It’s giving me a really rounded learning experience and an understanding of how all the departments impact upon each other. I also enjoyed the opportunity of working at the company’s global HQ in Germany for three weeks.
Because VEKA is a global company (even though it’s still family owned) there are quite a lot more travel opportunities than you might expect in many other Burnley-based firms.
Where do you hope to progress?
As long as I progress somewhere within VEKA plc, I'm sure it'll be the right career route for me. I enjoy working in customer service, but – who knows? - I might take a sidestep at some point in my career. There are all sorts of opportunities across VEKA’s many departments.
What are your interests outside work?
I love supporting Burnley FC and attending all home games, especially since they have been doing so brilliantly in the Premier league! I have a passion for music, particularly playing my guitar and singing. I'm also incredibly family orientated, my friends and family are my world.
What do you think are the main benefits of working at VEKA?
Working for VEKA not only means working for one of Burnley's biggest and most successful companies, it also means working for the market leader in PVC-U window profiles which makes me incredibly proud.
There’s a great working environment and hard work is recognised and appreciated with events like the ‘Pride of VEKA’ awards. Dave Spikey presented the awards in 2017, and Chris Kamara the year before, which is quite a good incentive for staff to go above and beyond in their working day. The company also puts on a lunch for long-serving staff every year and there are all sorts of incentives and benefits that come ‘as standard’ when you work for VEKA. Personally, I think that I definitely made the right choice to work here, on a competitive salary, rather than running up the debt of university fees.
I chose VEKA because I knew it was a great place to work. VEKA is well known as a company that looks after its workers and always keep their best interests at heart. As long as I'm giving my all to the company, I can rest assured that they're giving me all the greatest possible opportunities to grow and develop within the business.
VEKA invests in apprentices to give the best possible training, which makes us better qualified and more valuable to the company in turn. It’s mutually beneficial.
There are around 400 staff at VEKA in Burnley, but it doesn’t feel like an overwhelming place to work. Nearly everyone knows everyone else and the Management Team make a big effort to listen to everyone’s ideas and suggestions.