PUBLISHED Thursday, September 14 2017
In December 2016, Walker Filtration welcomed three new employees at their UK headquarters as part of our graduate development scheme. The programme provides the opportunity for the new recruits to rotate through departments and acquire a range of skills and experience.
This week we spoke to Ryan Jefferson to learn about his experience so far:
What were you doing before applying to the WF graduate scheme?
Before joining the Walker Filtration graduate scheme, I completed an apprenticeship at a nearby manufacturing site.
What made WF stand out as a company?
When I met with Lianne Walker at my first interview it was clear the company had good values. It seemed like a great place to develop new skills and progress.
How long did it take you to settle into the team?
As I joined Walker Filtration with two other graduates, I felt part of a team instantly. We completed a team building exercise which broke the ice, it really helped me to settle in quickly.
What has your experience been like so far?
I wasn’t expecting to have such an integral role in the bigger projects, however being involved has helped me to see the direct impacts they have on the business. It’s been very interesting.
How does working at Walker Filtration differ from your previous roles?
It’s very fast paced and different to my apprenticeship. On the graduate scheme things are constantly changing and you’ve got to adapt to the different roles. You get used to one role, complete your project, then you move to another department which is also an intense role and required to integrate yourself into a new team. Walker Filtration want us to rotate through departments so that we learn about all areas of the business, adapt to new environments, and apply our skills to different areas. Although it’s been challenging, the experience has been very rewarding.
What skills have you learned so far, and have you learned anything you didn’t expect to?
Being at Walker Filtration has strengthened the skills that I picked up in my engineering background. Being here I’ve had new experiences and gained more knowledge through working on various products, which has allowed me to put my engineering skills into practice and apply them to different projects.
Where do you see yourself in two years, after finishing the graduate development scheme?
We were told when we joined that the area we had previous training or experience in would be the last department we would be placed in, as the Company want us to develop our skills in areas we aren’t familiar with first and gain a comprehensive overview of the business. I’ve been in Quality, Supply and Process and, like all roles, I have experienced highs and lows. I’ve hit roadblocks in my projects along the way, but the challenge is to overcome these and find a solution or develop a contingency plan. I think all my placements so far have been positive – I have learned a lot and had a lot of good feedback. If you ask me where I want to be in two years, I’d have to see what the rest of the placements are like first.
Finally, what’s been the most rewarding part of your time here?
Reaching key milestones in a project and being able to see how much it has progressed. At the minute one of my projects has just finished; I’ve managed the design and development of packaging for the filter elements and duplex housings for Walker Filtration’s new filter range: ‘The New Alpha Series’. It was good to go to project meetings to see how the project is progressing and it is rewarding to complete a project and get the recognition for completing it successfully.
PUBLISHED Monday, July 17 2017
This year, Walker Filtration has once again taken part in the Engineering in Education Scheme (EES), working alongside the Engineering Development Trust and Newcastle High School for Girls to provide AS Level students with experience of real engineering projects.
EES is designed to encourage and support students who wish to pursue STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects. The scheme has proven successful thus far, with 89% of students going on to study STEM subjects at degree level.
The students from Newcastle High School for Girls took part in a six-month long project, working alongside engineers from Walker Filtration to investigate unconventional methods of bonding filter cartridges to injection moulded end caps. The students developed problem solving skills and gained experience of working on live engineering and manufacturing projects.
Ryan Defty, a Design Engineer at Walker Filtration, commented ‘Working with EES to encourage young people to study STEM subjects provides an excellent opportunity for students to consider a future within engineering. We hope we have given the students a valuable insight into how exciting and rewarding a career in this industry can be.’
Mr Andrew Morton, a Physics teacher from Newcastle High School for Girls who co-ordinated the project said, ‘We have for a number of years had a lot of interest from students who would like to pursue STEM careers such as Engineering and Physics, and this has been steadily growing. The EES is an excellent scheme and we have been lucky to have had the support of Walker Filtration for a number of years. This strong provision has led to students gaining experience and knowledge of the world of Engineering and helped enormously in increasing the number of young women advancing into science-based careers.’
Walker Filtration are delighted with the success of the project and our engineers have been impressed with the high standard of the work the students produced. We are looking forward to taking part in the project again next year and continuing to encourage the next generation of talented individuals to study STEM subjects.
PUBLISHED Thursday, June 29 2017
On Saturday 24th June members of Walker Filtration’s staff participated in a “Pretty Muddy” Race for Life spanning 5KM.
The team have so far raised over £550 for Cancer Research UK, the world’s largest independent cancer research charity, which conducts research into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the disease. Through our support and fundraising events like the Pretty Muddy 5k we can help support ground-breaking research that helps see more people survive cancer.
The determined team climbed, crawled and scrambled over a series of obstacles, at Riverside Park in County Durham to raise money for Cancer Research UK. The course challenged them to bounce through the mud on space hoppers, crawl through muddy trenches, and help each other climb through a maze of bungee cords. The ladies’ favourite obstacle was by far the giant mud slide at the end, with many of the team heading back for a second turn!
Walker Filtration and our staff have always placed significant focus on corporate social responsibility and are often involved in various charitable fundraising events. Well done ladies for completing this challenge for such a noteworthy cause.
From the photograph at the finish line, it seems the team certainly did get pretty muddy!
PUBLISHED Thursday, June 8 2017
In December 2016 Walker Filtration Limited welcomed three new graduates to the company as part of our Graduate Development Scheme.
Annah Baines, who has now been with the company for six months, shares her experiences of the Company and Graduate Scheme so far.
What did you study before you joined Walker Filtration?
I studied for my Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature at Newcastle University and graduated in 2015. Knowing I wanted to follow a career in a business setting, I realised I would need more knowledge and experience, and I decided to pursue a master’s degree in Management at Durham University to give me a stronger understanding of business management.
What was it that attracted you to Walker Filtration?
When searching for a suitable graduate position Walker Filtration stood out immediately. As a business operating on a global scale, their headquarters are in Washington, Tyne and Wear – providing an opportunity to work in an international business right here in the heart of the North East. When I researched the company further, I discovered that Walker Filtration are a family run business and their passion for the North East is apparent in their investment in the local community and people – a big draw as I’m from the local area myself. This investment in people, and having the opportunity to learn and work directly with Lianne, definitely attracted me to the company as it shows the family’s dedication to the business and focus upon employee’s personal development.
What did your first company placement involve?
Since January I have been working as part of the marketing team, focusing on the company’s new product launches. It has been and exciting time to join the company, and provided me with the opportunity to take ownership of a major project – implementing a brand new product microsite. My first placement has been very busy, with lots of hard work – but this has enabled me to really expand my skills and provided me with invaluable knowledge of product marketing.
What other activities have you been involved with?
I have also been involved with a number of projects involving marketing support and communications. Prior to joining Walker Filtration I had studied English Literature in my undergraduate, so my writing and analytical skills proved useful as I was able to support in content writing for press releases, product literature and a new microsite.
What have been the main challenges?
The main challenges have been working in such a fast-paced environment with tight deadlines to ensure we meet customer demand. Additionally, being involved in major product launches means I am constantly being challenged to learn about the products quickly and extend my knowledge on a daily basis. However, I believe that working in the marketing department during several product launches, and during such a busy period, has enabled me to expand my product knowledge faster than I would have in another role - or during a time when product launches were not a focus.
What else are you looking forward to on the Graduate Scheme?
I am most looking forward to having the opportunity to move around the business, extend my knowledge of the different areas of business that I studied during my masters, and understand how each department functions to ensure the company is continuing to grow and be successful.
Where do you see yourself in two years, after finishing the Graduate Development Scheme?
Upon completion of the Graduate Scheme, I see myself working in sales and marketing on new product development - working to promote product to customers and prospective customers. Although, I am keen to learn about other areas of the business - and I may change my mind about where I’d like to be in two years once I have spent more time in different departments!
Finally, what is the best thing about working at Walker Filtration?
It has to be the on-site gym. I am a fitness fan and the opportunity to go straight from my desk to the gym after work is a huge bonus.