Phil Gregory from our very own Technical Department talks about his very important role at VEKA and how he teaches at local establishments in his spare time.
How long have you worked at VEKA for?
I have worked for VEKA since 2013
What is your role at VEKA?
I am a product engineer; I take ideas and concepts to create designs and prototypes. My role also involves compiling manuals on the production of new products and briefing Sales and Marketing teams, too.
I got my job as a Product Engineer at VEKA based on my hands-on knowledge and experience as I've been working in the industry since I left school, in many different roles.
What’s your favourite part of your job?
The best part of my job is the satisfaction of finding a solution to a problem and then seeing that solution produced or used.
Once a design is finished, greater satisfaction comes when you see that design in use, either in production or as a sample. There is nothing more pleasing than seeing one of your designs in a real world situation, especially when the user talks about how pleased they are with the function or looks.
VEKA has given me the opportunity to be involved in the design and development of products that will hopefully remain part of the range for many years to come, thinking back to where I started in this industry to where I am today makes me proud. Designing products for windows and doors might not sound that exciting to some people, but designing products where millions of meters will be produced and be part of someone's home for 20, 30 or more years is pretty satisfying to me.
How did you know you wanted to work at VEKA in the Technical department?
I have worked in this industry for over 28 years, it seemed logical to work towards joining the largest and arguably the most respected systems company in the UK, especially since they were based just round the corner from my home town.
VEKA was always on my radar as being the biggest and the best: one I always wanted to work for. I'm proud to be part of the VEKA team now and studying at Burnley College to improve my skills and knowledge still further.
How do you help the community with your technical skills?
I teach evening courses in 3D modelling, using my in-depth knowledge of the specialist software I use whilst working at VEKA.
How have you developed your in-depth knowledge?
I don’t only want to pass on my skills to others who aspire to enhance their promotion prospects or change careers, I am also an Adult Learner myself, studying for a Higher National Diploma in Mechanical Engineering at Burnley College.
When I started at VEKA I didn't have a formal qualification in the field so my managers and I decided that studying for a HND on day release from work would be ideal. I started my course in September 2016 and am on course to finish in May next year.
How has your HND qualification helped shape you as an individual?
The HND has really opened my eyes to the many different aspects of my role as a product engineer and the opportunities available to me. I can certainly see the bigger picture now and it has given me the impetus to complete my studies for a Higher National Diploma and aim for a managerial position in future.
I can really recommend coming back into education as an adult to boost your career. It gives you a lot of confidence and you discover a lot about yourself in the process, as well as helping your prospects at work.
Tell us more about the 3D modelling module …
My individual project on the 3D modelling module was to demonstrate the various tools available in the software, I took this further using the software to design and 3D print a complete chess set and board to include with my portfolio. I must have impressed my teachers as they asked me to consider coming in to teach that subject in the evenings to other Adult Learners. I was honoured to be asked. To be able to pass on your knowledge of a subject you love is great.
Do you find teaching rewarding?
The Adult Learners I teach, like all those who come to Burnley College, are so enthusiastic and willing to learn; they've all chosen to attend the classes, which make them really positive about the subject and very receptive - It's a great atmosphere. I also attend careers events and science festivals to promote interest and studies in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
Which schools/establishments have you visited?
I’ve taught at many establishments and some of these include:
- Shuttleworth College
- Sir John Thursby Community College
- Hameldon Community College
- Thomas Whitham Sixth Form
- 3 Science festivals
- 2 careers events at Burnley College
- All Saints Scouts group Cubs pack