Pilkington Group Limited

Pilkington Group Limited

Pilkington Group Limited

The Flat Glass business of NSG Group, trading under the Pilkington brand, is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of glass and glazing products for the building and automotive markets, with manufacturing operations in 27 countries on four continents and sales in 130 countries. Overall, the NSG Group reported sales of $US 5.7 billion in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2007.

Pilkington was founded in 1826 as a partnership and became a private company in 1894. It remained a private company until 1970 when its shares were listed on the London Stock Exchange. Pilkington was de-listed from the London Stock Exchange in June 2006 on becoming a wholly-owned subsidiary of the NSG Group; itself established in 1918.

The NSG Group has major market shares in most building and automotive product markets of the world, with a broad geographic reach, enabling it to respond to customers whose operations particularly in the case of Automotive OE, are increasingly global.

Around 370 float lines are in operation, under construction or planned worldwide with a combined output of about 970,000 tonnes of glass a week. The NSG Group operates or has interests in 51 float lines worldwide.

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Case Studies

[casestudy]
  • Name: Michael Farrow
  • Role: Finance Graduate - Automotive Finance
  • University: University of Sheffield
  • Degree: 2:1 BA Hons Accounting and Financial Management

Description:

The Job

I have worked for Pilkington for just over a year, starting in September 2007 on the finance graduate scheme. The graduate scheme lasts for about three years, during which time, graduates move around the company gaining lots of different finance experience whilst studying for their CIMA qualification.

On the graduate scheme I started off in Building Products UK covering work in the shared service centre on the accounts processing side of things, this involved both purchase and sales ledger work and is a good way to learn about the company and the systems it uses; as well as gaining transactional experience necessary for CIMA. Whilst in Building Products I also spent time working in the management information department and became involved in several month end processes and assisted in the budget process for financial year 08-09.

After six months, I moved to R&D Finance where I was heavily involved in the preparation of the statutory year end accounts for that entity, meeting regularly with the auditors.

Once the year end processes were complete I moved to Automotive Finance where I am currently working. The role I am currently undertaking is mainly involves looking at profitability analysis for the different regions in which automotive operates. As well as this I am involved in month end reporting for some of the entities and have also spent time in Business Assessment preparing quotations for the major vehicle manufacturers.

During my time so far on the finance graduate scheme, I have been fortunate to work with many different people from all different functions and at all different levels.

The Study

Pilkington is a CIMA Quality Partner meaning that all finance graduates are given lots of support when combining their study with a full time job. Every finance graduate is given substantial financial support towards obtaining the qualification and time off is also granted at each stage of the exams.

Being surrounded by people, who are at different stages of the graduate programme, and therefore at different stages of their CIMA qualification, is a great benefit as well. They understand the pressures of combining the two and are genuinely interested in helping you pass your exams.

As in numerous companies, the exams coincide with the year end and half year end reporting periods but all colleagues / management still stress that your exams and qualification come first. The revision courses are during work time and all graduates are allowed time off work in order to attend the revision courses and sit the exams.

  • Name: Alistair Chaytor
  • Role: Finance Graduate - Building Products Europe
  • University: University of Manchester, University of Newcastle upon Tyne
  • Degree: 1st BA (HONS) Hispanic Studies Distinction, MSc International Economics & Finance

Description:

The job

I started working for Pilkington in September 2006 and I am currently in my third rotation on the graduate scheme, working in Building Products Europe. Given the size of the organisation there is scope for many different placements on the scheme and during my first and second years I spent time working within Building Products UK and Group Finance, respectively.

Whilst being on the graduate scheme my roles and tasks have varied greatly. During my first year in Building Products UK, I was responsible for providing management information and monthly reporting packs to finance managers as well as furthering my knowledge of the business through work carried out in the finance shared service centre. During my second year in Group Finance, I was responsible for the provision of monthly management accounts and year-end statutory accounts for various treasury companies, international cash management, dealing on money markets and I also spent three weeks in Moscow preparing a full set of IFRS compliant statutory accounts for our Russian joint venture operation.

I have gained much experience from my rotations and this has led to me developing both my technical knowledge in key finance areas as well as my knowledge of the Group’s operations and its business lines. Working with senior managers within the organisation and having exposure to many different projects has been particularly enjoyable.

The study

Great emphasis is placed by the organisation on providing full support to graduates, both financially and in terms of time off, in order to study and gain the CIMA qualification. Of course, it takes a lot of hard work to study whilst also working full-time but a strong support network as well as fellow graduates going through the same thing helps a lot.

[casestudy]
  • Name: Craig Ballantyne
  • Role: Business Support Manager - Finance
  • University: University of Manchester
  • Degree: 1st BA ECON Accounting and Finance

Description:

The Job

I have worked for Pilkington for two and half years, starting in 2005 on the finance graduate scheme. The graduate scheme lasts for about three years, although it can be finished earlier depending on exams and job opportunities. During the scheme graduates move around the company gaining lots of different finance experience whilst studying for their CIMA qualification.

Whilst I was on the graduate scheme, I enjoyed working within Group Finance, Group Internal Audit and for Building Products Europe. This experience has given me a good grounding for my future career at Pilkington and has enabled me to develop not only my finance and business knowledge, but also my knowledge of the company.

During my time on the finance graduate scheme, I was fortunate to work with many different people from all different functions and at all different levels. One thing that I have particularly enjoyed during the graduate scheme is having exposure to senior people within the organisation. During my second year I was responsible for preparing and presenting the consolidated European Building Products monthly results to the European Finance Director.

All finance graduates will have different work experiences during the three years, but as a guide, I completed 3 placements during the graduate scheme.

I worked for the first year in Group Finance - this involved working within both the Group Treasury and Group Accounting functions.

Most of my second year was spent working within the Building Products European business. Typical work in this department included consolidating the European monthly results, budgets and forecasts. I also produced the monthly results booklet which was circulated to all senior management within the European Building Products business.

I spent a number of weeks within Group Internal Audit which gave me opportunities to travel around Europe and see different parts of the Pilkington business whilst learning more about the importance of internal controls within our company and how to help the businesses and sites to implement them.

I finished the graduate scheme within two years and I was given the opportunity to come and work in Kuala Lumpur in my current role. Even though I feel like I have been thrown into the deep end in this new role with more important responsibilities, there is always someone to help or give guidance when needed so the learning and support doesn’t finish when the graduate scheme does. Plus, writing this around the swimming pool certainly helps ease any pressure.

The Study

Pilkington is a CIMA Quality Partner meaning that all finance graduates are given lots of support when combining their study with a full time job. Every finance graduate is given substantial financial support towards obtaining the qualification and time off is also granted at each stage of the exams.

Being surrounded by people, who are at different stages of the graduate programme, and therefore at different stages of their CIMA qualification, is a great benefit as well. They understand the pressures of combining the two and are genuinely interested in helping you pass your exams.

As in numerous companies, the exams coincide with the year end and half year end reporting periods but all colleagues / management still stress that your exams and qualification come first. The revision courses are during work time and all graduates are allowed to take time off work in order to attend the revision courses and sit the exams.

  • Name: Darcy Liu
  • Role: Finance Graduate-Group Finance
  • University: University of Edinburgh
  • Degree: MA (Honours) in Business Studies and Accounting

Description:

The Job

I joined Pilkington on the Finance Graduate Programme in September 2007. My 1st year on the scheme was spent at the finance department in Building Products UK, which provides accounting information to assist managers in running the business in an effective and efficient manner, and ensures that UK statutory accounting requirements are met.

Because of the largely transaction-based nature of the departments, I was exposed with opportunities to gain knowledge and experience in using relevant accounting software such as SAP, which is of great benefit for my career development.

On top of that, I was responsible for several daily and month end tasks, ranging from presenting daily sales figures to the top management, to uploading local petty cash and cheque returns for all the UK branches.

During my first year with the company, I was also given the privilege to work with the Internal Audit department for an assignment in one of our sites in China. The audit concentrated on a review of the Company’s financial statements and focussed on specific balances and transactions within the balance sheet and income statement. Over our two weeks at the site, an understanding of the key transactions and balances was obtained from management and, where possible, these were agreed to supporting documentation. In addition, a top level review was performed of the key processes and controls.

Graduates will also gain assistance from the mentoring scheme, in which the mentor will ensure the mentee’s development is in line with current and future needs of both Pilkington and the individual in the profession they have chosen to follow.

The Study

As a CIMA quality partner, Pilkington offer finance graduates opportunities to qualify as a member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. Various means of support, both financially and non-financially, are given to graduates as we study towards attaining qualification. While tuition fees and exam fees are paid by the company, study leaves are also granted for taking revision courses and sitting the exams.

It is by no means easy to combine study with a full time job. Inevitably, personal leisure time will be spent on studying the syllabus for the exams. Nonetheless, the benefits of obtaining one of the globally recognised accounting qualifications will ensure that all this effort will be well paid off in the end. And thankfully, helping hands are always readily available from the colleagues who are very understanding of the multiple commitments that finance graduates have.

[casestudy]
  • Name: Leo Pyrah
  • Role: Building Products R&D - Float Technology
  • University: University of Oxford
  • Degree: Masters in Chemistry (MChem)

Description:

The Job

I have been working for Pilkington for 18 months, in Float Technology.

My job varies a huge amount - I can be working on a research project one day and providing technical support on site the next. The main area I have been working on is the chemistry within the float bath. Despite being here for more than a year, I am still learning a huge amount about this as well as the wider process.

The graduate scheme in Float Technology runs for 2 years.

Shortly after I joined Pilkington, one of the UK float lines had to be repaired. I was able to spend six weeks on site supporting the repair and training. Following this, I attended the Forming, Annealing and Cutting training course, which lasted two weeks. It was a great opportunity to meet colleagues from all over the world and it gave me an appreciation of just how global the company is.

Since then, I have worked on a number of projects including reviewing and improving a quality control test, designing a new piece of equipment to look at the chemistry in the bath atmosphere and helping arrange and report on two trials in Russia. In the last few months I have been to the float line near Venice, twice, as I am leading a project to solve an issue with glass flatness.

In terms of training, I have had lots of support from my line manager. I have attended a module of the First in Management Scheme, a Statistics for Pilkington course and an external 13 day course about problem solving and lean manufacturing.

[casestudy]
  • Name: Allan Richards
  • Role: Information Systems Graduate
  • University: University of Chester
  • Degree: BA Computer Science/Information Systems and Spanish, MSc Information Systems

Description:

Why was this company the right choice for you?

When I first visited Pilkington I knew straight away it was the right choice for me. It had such a positive atmosphere and environment that I anticipated my development both personally and professionally. Two other reasons why I chose Pilkington were the Graduate Programme and the global nature of the organisation. The Programme has been well developed and is structured while offering flexibility and variety. Pilkington is a truly global organisation that has a key role to fulfil with the ability to offer a vast array of exciting and challenging opportunities.

Which aspects of your role do you enjoy most?

As part of my role within Group Information Systems I am enjoying the opportunity it provides to experience Application Development, Operations and Infrastructure, and gaining exposure to wider business issues. Working alongside experienced members of the team I have played an active role in key projects, which are vital not only to the strategic direction of Group IS but the global organisation.

What have you learnt from your training?

Training is just one aspect of the Graduate Programme here; it is balanced with experience and support. This forms a strong framework which is accelerating my development. I have received not only technical training, to assist with my role, but core skills for a future managerial role. Pilkington recruit graduates carefully and are fully committed to their development from day one.

What are your future plans within the company?

It is clear to me that my future lies with Pilkington. My aim is to forge a long and successful career here by progressing into roles with greater responsibility which would also fulfil the overall aim of the Graduate Programme. A long term career is not uncommon here given the excellent nature of the organisation. I intend to take advantage of any opportunities that arise which I know will be supported and encouraged by the organisation.

[casestudy]
  • Name: Peter Craven
  • Role: Design Engineer
  • University: University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology
  • Degree: MEng Mechanical Engineering

Description:

The Job

I started with Pilkington as a graduate in 2006 and have worked for Group Engineering for two and a half years. Group Engineering build and repair all of the company’s float glass lines and my section, Furnace and Bath Engineering, is responsible for the specification, design, procurement, installation and commissioning of the furnaces and float baths for these plants.

From the very beginning I was involved in a major project, assisting a senior engineer on the design and procurement phases for the repair of a plant in St Helens, UK. As with most of our projects there were tight time constraints and I was required to make a positive contribution from the start. This was an excellent way to begin to learn about the complex construction of a float plant and the procedures used to deliver a large project on time and on budget.

After a couple of months I was asked to join the repair team on a project in Italy for five weeks, where my initial role monitoring the disposal of demolished materials developed into day-to-day supervision of the steelwork and refractory installation contractors on the bath. I very much enjoyed my first experience of site work: it was a huge benefit to my technical understanding and appreciation of the mechanics of a project and it was also a lot of fun getting to know my colleagues on the team and enjoying the Italian lifestyle!

On my return I continued working on the St Helens project and during the twelve-week repair I had responsibility for the steelwork demolition and reinstallation for the furnace and bath. Although this was a huge challenge I had ample support from the senior engineer, project manager and my section manager and gained great satisfaction from the completion of my first full job.

Since then I have worked on two more projects, each a big step up in responsibility, and each with a good balance of office and site work. The first was the repair of a plant in Germany, which I joined at the end of the design phase to take responsibility for the planning and site work on the bath. I am currently working on my first project as lead engineer on furnace and bath, for which I have responsibility from initial specification to completion - the repair and upgrade of a plant in California, USA.

I have really enjoyed my time at Pilkington so far. The scale of the projects, the variety of work and the support available mean there is opportunity to gain experience and responsibility rapidly, and to easily fulfil the requirements for Charter ship. But what makes it really enjoyable are the periods of living and working abroad with a close project team and the satisfaction when the hard work pays off with a successful job.

Training & Profiles

Formal Training

All graduates will have the opportunity to participate in a series of basic management skill modules during their first 12 months with the Group.

The training required to provide you with the skills to perform roles safely and to a high standard will be available on a continuing basis as your career advances.

In addition, graduates following a career in finance pursue studies leading to membership of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. Engineers seek chartered membership of the relevant engineering institution and those in HR study for the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) qualification.

Other graduates follow a course of study leading to a Diploma in Management. For those who wish and have the ability, there are opportunities to take an MBA through part-time study once sufficient working experience has been gained.

The Group also runs a series of well-established, international management development programmes. These operate across the businesses at a number of different levels and you will be able to participate as you reach various stages in your career.

Focusing on general management and leadership development, these programmes provide the opportunity to meet and work with colleagues from all parts of the Group around the world.

What kind of people do we need?

We are looking for graduates who are capable of delivering high personal performance. An enthusiasm for working in the manufacturing industry and a willingness to strive for change, growth and new standards of performance are important.

Operating in an increasingly competitive international market place, our employees must also understand and value the different cultures, customs and business procedures across the Group and find solutions which work across the world.

Because of our international spread, an ability to speak other languages in addition to English is a great asset. A willingness to move around the Group, taking experience and skills learnt from one area of the business and applying them in another is needed.

Application Procedure

Employer application form available from our website.

Starting Salary - £21,500-£24,000
Pension Scheme
4 weeks accommodation required where re-location is required.
Willingness to travel abroad is essential.
Personal Development Plan