August 21, 2018

VEKA Group Marketing Director Dawn Stockell tells us how she’ll be spending a night under the stars in October, and why the company champions such extra-curricular opportunities for staff.

In about a month’s time, I will be swapping my luxuriously cosy bed for an overcoat and all-weather sleeping bag (at best) as I join two fellow VEKA Directors in sleeping out at Turf Moor; the home of Burnley FC.

As the time approaches for me to give up the goose-down and surrender the silk pj’s in favour of cold, hard floor, I find myself thinking… why on earth did I agree to this?!

The fact is, however, that VEKA (and its entire workforce) is well known for getting stuck in to charity work, community causes and local projects. It’s a significant part of the company’s ethos and one that we are very proud of. Which is why Neil Evans, Graham Fitton and I will be joining the Turf Moor Sleep Out to heighten awareness of Homelessness in the local area and raise money for three charities: Burnley FC in the Community, Emmaus, and SafeNet Domestic Abuse Service for Jane’s Place Women’s Refuge.

Charity work is just one of the aspects of ‘VEKA life’ that staff have always been actively encouraged to get involved with. The company is proud to provide a wide variety of training, travel and reward opportunities that help make VEKA employees such well-rounded individuals.

VEKA spends a significant amount on personnel training, alongside investment in product and plant, because we know that a happy and valued team is one that will stay with the company long term and reduce employee turnover, while also developing skills that benefit individuals and the business overall. Our 2017 employee engagement survey saw our people engagement score increase to an unprecedented 71%. The average UK Manufacturing score is 56% and we were proud to be presented with a NWEEG Gold Award as a result.

The aim is to develop our people not just for now, but for their future and the future of the business. Employees who know they are invested in by VEKA will create an engaged workforce and one that is proud to work with VEKA.

Realistically, the truth is that a company is only as strong as its workforce, and proud people make better products and provide the best service to customers.

VEKA was named ‘Employer of the Year’ at last year’s Burnley Business Awards and also at this year’s Red Rose Awards and with 91% of our almost 400-strong workforce living in the BB postcode, we know that the local area is important to our staff. We are proud to demonstrate a shared commitment to the region with sponsorship of local grassroots football teams (Rosegrove FC), a dedicated local charity chosen to support for the year (Hayley’s Hugs for 2018) and by being a founding member of the Burnley Bondholder Scheme which champions this industrious region in a variety of ways.

We also recently worked with our local radio station 2BR to promote the ‘VEKA Community Challenge’. This allowed people to vote for the community cause that they felt most deserved a ‘big fix’ from the VEKA team. The results have just been announced and will see a local primary school benefit from the practical skills of VEKA staff, as we roll up our sleeves to transform the school’s double decker bus into a beautiful library, providing a unique and inspiring reading space for the children.

With the skills shortage increasingly causing problems across our industry, VEKA is proud to offer the kind of valued and varied opportunities that encourage talented people to come and work for the company, and stay for decades.

This year, we’ve opened our doors to the biggest apprenticeship program yet, taking on a total of 12 apprentices across our Customer Services, Technical, Engineering Maintenance and Tool Development departments.

Investing in and supporting our people is at the heart of our values and strategy. Leadership training, BIT courses (Business Improvement Techniques), apprenticeships, charity work, travel opportunities, the chance to work with the Armed Reserve (and more), combine to offer employees plenty of scope to progress in their chosen career and help collectively take VEKA to new heights.

In our training and ‘extra curricular’ development, we strive to create a fulfilling employee experience filled with opportunity. This, in turn, benefits individuals, the company, its customers, and the local area.

So, if I have to swap my bedside lamp and feather pillows for floodlights and a football pitch on a cold October evening… then so be it! It’s all for a good cause (or three) and that’s the VEKA way.

Find out more about working for VEKA at or support the Turf Moor Sleep Out via JustGiving.

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