Innovative Minds

ITL’s Summer work experience placement program was profiled in the second Autumn 2015 issue of Oldham Business EdgeThe article has been reposted here in the format that it was originally published.


Innovative Technology, a leading global provider of cash handling technology, has opened its doors to 21 school, college and university students – the largest group ever to join its student summer programme. Five of the group talked about their experiences of working life with Robbie MacDonald.

Now in its fourth year, the Innovative Technology structured work experience scheme offers students valuable paid experience through the summer and is part of the company’s continuing commitment to regional science and engineering skills development.

Responding to record levels of interest and strong growth in products demand meant the programme grew by over 60% this year, almost a third of whom were returning students.

The group – school leavers, college and university students – began work in early July and completed their programme at the end of August, gaining insights into the practical application of their studies and obtaining real work experience. The group worked across all parts of the business from recruitment and IT, to operations and mechanical engineering and were coached and mentored by the firm. Innovative Technology believes more businesses should follow its lead by offering meaningful, paid work placements.

David Gregson


DAVID (18) from Middleton, was on placement at Innovative Technology for the first time. He recently finished a course at Bury College and is a friend of Colm Hayden, also from Middleton, who is an apprentice at Innovative Technology.

David worked on parts for a new automated checking line, i-Flow, which tests cash validation equipment units before they are shipped to customers. David used CAD  to design parts before creating the physical parts used on the new line.

“I’ve been using a different CAD package than I’m used to,” he said. “It was a bit difficult at first, because some of the commands are different, but I was soon able to master it and produce CAD drawings of a quality good enough to send out to manufacturers”

Having recently finished college, David is looking for an apprenticeship and has applied to several businesses for fabrication and welding roles. He explained “A friend told me about summer placements at Innovative Technology. He studies Mechanical Engineering and has had a couple of bad placements at other firms, but he recommended this one. “It’s great to get paid for the placement and we get a reference at the end, which is important for future job searches.”

“I enjoyed the time here. The atmosphere has been relaxed and there was a greater emphasis on working things out for yourself, expanding on skills learnt at college. For me, it’s been good to be in a workshop environment. I enjoy practical work and my tasks have been split 50-50 between computer-aided-design and practical testing. I had a good overall view of how the whole system works and was able to develop techniques I had only touched on at college.”

He concluded: “I’ll be having a good look round for apprenticeships”. “The opportunities are there – but I’ll have to really explore what’s available.”

Abby Camilleri


 ABBY CAMILLERI (18) from Milnrow was on her third placement with Innovative Technology. Abby had just finished A-levels in Physics, Maths and English language at Holy Cross College in Bury and her mother, Karen, works in the company’s accounts department.

Abby said: “ In the first year I started on the shopfloor, repairing units”.

“My second placement was with IT, setting-up and fixing computers. That was really good because if I wasn’t working here, I wouldn’t really be using a computer and don’t really have that much experience with them. At home I mainly use my phone.”

For this third summer Abby worked with the science team, using maths and computer coding to develop validation machines, which receive and pay out coins.

Abby explained “I’m working with probabilities and making the machines self-learning – correcting errors as they work.”

“It’s good experience and will be useful for university . At school you are taught a syllabus to pass an exam, but here you are taught to really know a subject. You were encouraged to use your initiative but help was there if you needed it.

“Though school pupils go on work experience during Year 10, I think it’s pretty rare to get a really good experience, like this one was”.

.Abby was mentored by Dr Matt Strong and Peter Appleby, and she readily admits the placement has greatly helped her confidence, personal development and communication skills.

“At meetings we were encouraged to put our opinions across”.

“We had to give a presentation to managers and directors at the end of the placement which was a challenge, but also a really good experience – good for your confidence.”

Abby eventually hopes to study Physics at university before a career in teaching.

“I’d encourage other girls and young women to follow careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths” (the ‘STEM’ subjects), she says.

“Men are often seen as discoverers, but these subjects need more women.”

Richard Anderson


 RICHARD ANDERSON (30), from Morecambe, is a former soldier and construction labourer, now studying mechanical engineering at Liverpool University.

This was his second summer at Innovative Technology, and each day Richard made a 140-mile round trip to the company’s HQ in Derker – that’s dedication for you.

“Last summer I worked in machine test development, helping to design and build units alongside the engineers,” he explained.” I could apply some of the things I learned at university and I found it very interesting.”

“This summer I was in the development team working on product improvements, updating assembly drawings, modifying existing parts and making test rigs.”

“Working as a labourer became really tiring. I was travelling up and down the county and sometimes had 12-hour shifts or night shifts. It was inconsistent too. I became interested in mechanical work and started looking for engineering courses and did some distance learning and went to night school, while working day shifts to get the required entry qualifications.”

“I’m optimistic about the future as a mechanical engineer. I’ve told people about Innovative Technology. It’s a good business to work for. I’d come back again if I could.”

“To any younger person who wants to become an engineer or designer, I’d say the most important advice is don’t skimp at school. Get good GCSEs and think about college, university or an apprenticeship. And don’t be put off by university fees. There are good careers in STEM subjects and there is plenty of work.”

Helen Tainsh


HELEN TAINSH (20) from Glossop, Derbyshire, was on her second placement with Innovative Technology in two years. She attended Audenshaw School in Tameside and is now studying maths with computer science at Edinburgh Heriot Watt University. A friend, Kat Vincent, works in the company’s development team and recommended the initial placement.

Helen spent that first summer in the test department and was given tailored tasks linked to her maths and programming interests.

Her second placement was in the science team, using mathematical estimations and computer coding on a banknote verification project.

“I’ve done coding projects at university but it’s good to practise it here”.

“University summer holidays are three months long so it can be easy to forget some processes when you’re not using them each day. The placement is excellent for keeping my brain ticking along – and I like problem-solving. Some problems can be solved in an hour but I’ve been working on this particular one for two days.²

Helen’s dad is an electrical engineer and also codes for computers while her mum has a computer science degree and works in system development at Tameside Hospital.

Both have supported Helen’s interests and she added: “Families can play an important role in encouraging girls to consider STEM-related careers.”

Kaine Chapman


KAINE CHAPMAN (17) from Derker, Oldham, was on his first placement at Innovative Technology and is studying A-level Chemistry, Biology, Geology and Computing at Oldham Sixth Form College.

Kaine’s placement in the science department focused on material sciences and the non-destructive testing of plastic components used in the company’s cash validation products.

“I’m researching different polymers and analysing their properties and defects that can arise from moulding, such as warpage. I am looking at wear-and-tear on polymer products, to develop products that last longer. I love it – it’s really interesting.”

His mentor, materials scientist, Afqad Arshad had a big influence and developed a summer internship plan tailor-made for the sixth-former.

Kaine explained: “When Afqad realised I had a chemistry background, he changed the entire plan to base it around my interests. I’ve got a week-by-week plan, which Afqad and I keep updating. When I got to the end of one research phase quicker than expected, he set me 20 more parts to investigate!”

“And I mentioned an interest in 3D printing, so that was added into my plan. This is the best work placement I’ve ever had.”

Aidan Towey, Managing Director of Innovative Technology said: “We’re delighted to have been able to expand the programme this year. As a global leader in technology we recognise the importance of high quality education at all levels, but that is just part of the equation. Young people need real experience of work too. Business leaders continue to complain that young people aren’t prepared for work, yet very few actually offer it themselves. Properly structured paid work experience is a win-win situation. Young people bring new ideas and a different perspective which can inject new life into projects. As an employer, we benefit from the opportunity to harness and develop any young talent we spot. I just wish more businesses would give it a go and open their doors to students of all ages. Meaningful, paid work experience needs to become the norm.”

Extracted from Oldham Business Edge Autumn 2015 Issue 2


The Graduate Adventure – Part 3

This blog continues to follow three graduates through their first year at ITL, now six months in Mia, Gilbert and Michael will give you an insight into their working life since their last blog in December.

The past three months have been my busiest yet with ITL, having come back from the Christmas break and going straight into our biggest exhibitions of the year.

As I have not been with the company long, I had to make the long journey to London and back in a day, which was very tiring but it was great to see the exhibition and our stand. Prior to EAG and ICE I did not really know what the exhibitions would hold as I have never had any experience in the industry, although I think visiting the exhibition will prove incredibly beneficial to me for future plans and stand designs.

2015 is our busiest year to date events wise exhibiting in London, Dublin, Madrid, Moscow and Shanghai to name but a few. So much effort and organisation goes into EAG and ICE, it is great to be able to redistribute elements to be used again during other shows. This proved to be quite a challenging task as we have numerous shows in different countries at a similar time. Although Dayna and I do not attend exhibitions in other countries, fingers crossed this might be in the pipeline in the future!

As I explained in my previous blog, I designed the stand graphics for our main shows with the help of Dayna, and I have since designed shell scheme posters and pull up banners for use at exhibitions and by the sales team. With a lot of my work being used around the globe by our other offices, I don’t always get to see the end results so it was great to actually see something that I designed at the London exhibitions that I was able to attend.

Dayna and I regularly receive requests for images; these can be all kinds of images, ranging from products to staff and even building photos. As a photographer’s time is quite costly and the time between the request and having the final image can sometimes be weeks apart, I enrolled on a photography course and bought a camera. The course I attended was for beginners as I had never taken a photo on a professional camera before; I enjoyed the day and learned loads and have even booked on for a Photoshop course next! It is great to receive support and encouragement and learn new skills.


Mia Harding, Graduate Marketing Assistant


Following on from my last blog back in December, my Product Development Team has completed the circuit layout of the next generation banknote validator and samples boards ordered before the Christmas shutdown.

Since January, the team has been working hard in all areas of the project; from mechanical adjustment, software development and sample board testing. I have been assisting in testing various functionalities of the product; making modifications where required and recording all of the changes made so they can be traced back later.

In parallel with the current project, I have been assisting with testing for CE accreditation of some of our products, by taking them to the testing laboratories for Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) and Product Safety Assessment testing. I have never been a part of the product testing process before and I am really enjoying this new challenge.

I have also been introduced to what will be my next project once the current one is complete; therefore I have been using my spare time doing some research related to this future project.

I am very well settled at ITL now, confident and happy with my job. I am looking forward to getting started on my next project and will be updating my blog in the next few months with how it is going.


Jean Gilbert Nzeye, Graduate Electronics Design Engineer


Since my last post supporting the operations team, I am now firmly back in my development role and have been assigned to a brand new project that will ultimately see the release of a new product.

I have attended meetings with the Development Managers to gain an understanding of the product and an overview of the typical specification required. The aim of this project is to achieve the high payout speed set out in the specification. After initial experimentation with the existing design, work quickly began on creating a prototype with a new drive mechanism; the prototype provided a significant increase in speed and initial testing exceeded all expectations.

I have been working closely with a Lead Mechanical Design Engineer and it has been very useful to be able to discuss ideas and hear numerous opinions on how problems might be overcome.

I am really enjoying the new challenge so far and can see myself developing both my skills and knowledge. In my next blog I will let you know how the product is evolving and my participation during its development.


Michael Tilson, Graduate Design Engineer

National Apprenticeship Week

Throughout National Apprenticeship Week we will be introducing you to Colm and Ashley, who are both current apprentices at Innovative Technology.

Colm Hayden (18) joined ITL in July 2014 as a Workshop Apprentice while Ashley Griffin (20) is an Electronics Apprentice and has been with the company since August 2014. Both Colm and Ashley are full time employees and study at Oldham Training Centre one day a week as part of their apprenticeships. We hope to give you a real insight into their working life over this week and discover why they chose apprenticeships, what they are studying and what a normal day entails.


Why did you decide on an apprenticeship and what are you studying at college?

Colm “I’d tried college previously and it just didn’t work for me. Family members recommended apprenticeships, and the promise of a secure salary and a permanent job convinced me to pursue the apprenticeship route. I’m currently in my first year of college studying City & Guilds Mechanical Engineering, with a view to carrying on my studies to HNC/ HND within the same field of engineering.”      

Ashley “I decided to choose an electronics apprenticeship because I really enjoy electronics and found myself repairing/modifying all kinds of electronic items in my spare time. I wanted to gain knowledge within electronics engineering whilst working, so what better way to do that than an apprenticeship! I am studying a BTEC Level 3 Diploma and NVQ Level 3 in Electronics Engineering.”

How do you find Innovative Technology? What does a typical day at work entail?

Colm “ITL is a very welcoming and understanding company. I’d heard of apprentices being rushed into work and just being used as cheap labour but ITL have helped me at every stage of my apprenticeship, helping me decide how best to move forward and asking for my opinion. On an average day, I liaise with the workshop engineers and the design team in the development of new products and prototypes. I learn more every day and feel part of the wider development team. ”

AshleyITL was my first real job so I was quite nervous when I started. All of my colleagues were very welcoming, which helped me feel at home in no time. Friends who were apprentices warned me I would be making the tea and really bored but they couldn’t have been more wrong. I’m designing and building circuits to test real products – no two days are ever the same. New challenges arise all the time and working with such knowledgeable colleagues helps me learn so much.”


Workshop Apprentice Colm is being mentored by Manual Machinist, Jon Seddon.

Jon: “This is my first experience of mentoring an apprentice and I’m enjoying the experience. Colm is very keen, hardworking and is always on time (something that is not always easy for young people who have to rely on public transport). We have regular meetings with Colm’s course tutor to review his progress. Colm is a great worker and it’s a pleasure to be able to mentor young talent.”


Electronics Apprentice Ashley is being mentored by Lead Electronics Engineer, John Tillson.

John: “Ashley has been on a steep learning curve in terms of both technical and practical skills since joining the electronics design team. He is steadily improving his understanding of a wide range of electronic components, and is now able to design and prototype simple circuits. Ashley will become more involved in new project work and begin working on more complex designs, with lots more to learn over the coming years.”

After completing your apprenticeship what career progression will you have?

Colm “I will be a fully qualified Mechanical Engineer with options to continue in a workshop role or move in ITL’s Development Team.”

Ashley “I will have vital work experience as well as the qualifications that will enable me to attend university if I want to.”

National Apprenticeship Week  9th – 13th March 2015


Our Founder and Chairman David Bellis was an apprentice himself. Read his blog – The story of David Bellis MBE here.


Opportunity knocks

2014 has been a great year for ITL. As well as winning industry awards, releasing new products and opening new office locations, we filled 43 permanent vacancies.

It’s great when a company shows its appreciation for hard work and here at ITL we were treated to a catered Christmas lunch in December. Along with other festive activities like Secret Santa, bowling and a night out, staff were definitely ready for the well-deserved 11 day break over Christmas. We’ve returned in 2015 well rested and a few pounds lighter (in the wallet, not the waist) ready to do it all over again.

Planning is currently underway for recruitment in 2015, with student opportunities and 8 graduate positions to be filled this year we are pleased to be able to continue to help students gain valuable work experience and graduates take the first step onto their career ladder.
We also have some exciting new opportunities throughout the rest of the business; with roles in R&D, Manufacturing and Customer Support across our sites in Oldham and Milton Keynes, 2015 is looking to be just as busy and rewarding as 2014.

If you’re looking for a new career this year then take a look at all of our current vacancies, including graduate/student opportunities for 2015, here.

Recruitment Tip for Grads:
Gain as much work experience as you can. As well as a big 6 week holiday in the summer, the school term is littered with half term and end of term breaks. Take these opportunities to spend time in relevant companies; a candidate who has spent their spare time furthering themselves and their knowledge of a chosen subject will really stand out to a hiring manager, which will work in your favour when it comes to applying for graduate roles.

Karen Holloren, Recruitment Coordinator. 09/01/2015

Karen Holloren

Once upon a time in Milton Keynes

September saw us say goodbye to most of our summer placement students who have been with us throughout July and August gaining experience across Mechanical and Electronics Engineering, IT, Test and Production. Hopefully they all found their time here beneficial and for the university students the hands on experience will certainly help them in their final year. We’ve been able to extend the opportunity to two of the students to stay with us until Christmas and we’ve already had interest in some students returning next year.

There’s been a lot of promotion done in regards to our new office in Milton Keynes and on Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd of September myself, Carole Harker (Recruitment Manager) and Andy Bassam (Customer Support Manager) attended the Milton Keynes job show at thecentre:mk promoting the company and our opportunities.

With 60,000 people expected each day preparing for the event was important; we drafted new role profiles, put together information packs on the company and products and took a SMART Ticket Printer to have running at the show, programmed to print out details of the MK office and contact details of the recruitment team – a handy take away for people who came to see us.

The weekend itself went well; the exhibition was well set up and well placed for attracting people. We spoke to a mix of people; some who were actively seeking employment and others who had decided to have a look at the exhibition whilst they were in the centre.

I also got the chance to visit our new office which is very well placed in the center of Milton Keynes in close proximity to shops and restaurants. With the office initially focusing on design we were looking to speak to some high calibre Mechanical and Electronics Design Engineers. If you didn’t get chance to visit us at the show but are interested in the opportunities we have please visit our careers site (link below).

October sees the start of autumn recruiting in the graduate world. We will be exhibiting at three university events promoting the company and our 2015 graduate vacancies which include openings in Mechanical, Electronics and Software Design Engineering as well as summer placements and industrial placement year vacancies. For more information please visit our careers site or come along to one of the below events to speak to us in person.

  • Huddersfield Grad Jobs Fair, 7th October
  • Scottish Graduate Fair, 22nd October
  • Lancaster Career Opportunities Fair, 29th October

Find out more about our new office in Milton Keynes and see all our current opportunities including graduate openings for 2015

Recruitment Tip for Grads;
Interviews should be a two-way discussion; they are a chance for the interviewer to ensure you are a fit for the role and company but also a chance for you to ensure that the role and company meet your career expectations. Be prepared for the interview by writing down questions you want to ask or noting down examples of successful projects/pieces of work you’ve been involved in and refer to them during the interview if needed.

Karen Holloren, Recruitment Coordinator. 07/10/14

Karen Holloren

A message from Milano

Stefano Mandelli is Business Development Manager in Italy heading up our new office in Milan, to support our existing company base in Europe.


I’m Stefano, 40 years of age; I live near Milan with my wife and two children.

After studying for a diploma at the Technical Institute in Milan, I joined one of ITL’s trading partners in Italy, where I remained for 15 years during which time I completed a number of courses in sales and leadership.

My time there allowed me to grow professionally and within a few years I became a Sales Manager in charge of the Gaming Department for the Italian market. My role included heading up key customer accounts and managing the Sales Department, which I built up to consist of 5 people.

At the age of 40, I decided that I needed a new challenge, and what seemed like the perfect opportunity arose at ITL; the chance to work for a major international company who is ever expanding really interested me, as there seemed plenty of opportunities for growth.

I was very pleased when ITL called me and I think that they were impressed by my history and the work I have previously accomplished with their products in Italy.

I started work in July; I have partaken in two ITL internal sales meetings; one in Hamburg with the Sales Managers and one in the UK with the rest of my colleagues. I spent a week in Oldham, at our Head Office; I was one of four new colleagues in the UK that week which was very beneficial as I was able to meet not only my colleagues in the UK, but also my colleagues in Spain and Australia. I was made to feel incredibly welcome, as if I have been a part of the team for quite some time which has allowed me to feel confident that my move will prove successful.

I am familiar with most of the products through previous experience of working with them and believe I have strong product knowledge of these items. However, as with all new challenges there is still plenty to learn and become acquainted with. As I have worked within the industry for so long, I have strong relationships with many customers in Italy, who I believe will now experience enhanced service due to the opening of our office in Milan.

My new adventure with ITL is an exciting one for me and I am very enthusiastic towards the challenge ahead.

Stefano Mandelli, Business Development Manager 17/09/14


ITL Down Under

Meet Kerry Cowan, Sales Director at Innovative Technology (Asia Pacific) Pty Ltd in Brisbane, Australia.

G’ Day! I’m the new guy based in Australia …

Originally from New Zealand I emigrated to Australia with my wife and two daughters over 15 years ago. Although daunting at the time it turned out to be one of my better life choices as it has provided many opportunities for all of us.

I’ve worked in various sales roles over the years, shortly after arriving in Australia I gained a business development position with a slot machine manufacturer where I stayed for over 12 years. I had the opportunity to work and live in Macau China, with responsibility for some key accounts in Macau as well as responsibilities for Cambodia, Philippines and Vietnam.

The company was bought by a U.S corporation and 3 years later I relocated back to Australia and was given responsibility for business development, focusing on new business markets, where I remained until the company was sold again.

I am really excited to join ITL. I will be covering the Asia Pacific region, to build and develop our business throughout these important markets. I’ve been looking forward to meeting the ITL team and to starting my new role. I’m extremely proud to have been given the opportunity to establish the new ITL Asia Pacific office in Australia. Located on Coronation Drive in Brisbane just outside the CBD, ‘Coro drive’ as the locals refer to it, is a great location!

I’ve been in the UK all this week for product training and had a chance to meet some of the team. I’ve had a great time in Manchester; everyone has given me a friendly welcome, making my first visit to Oldham a very positive and rewarding one. I managed to see some of the sights of the city and I look forward to working with everyone over the coming months and years ahead.

Kerry Cowan, Sales Director Asia Pacific 29/08/14

Kerry Cowan

Software – a man’s world?!

Kat is the newest member of our Software Development Team, joining us after graduating from Salford University where she achieved a first class honours degree. After having settled in, she has taken the time out to share her experience of working in ITL’s Research and Development Team.

A new year a new start! Prior to joining ITL, I had a years’ experience in software after successfully earning a first class honours degree in Computer Science at Salford University. The prospect of a new challenge at a company that is so progressive in its search for innovation excited me and I was thrilled to have been offered the job.

My interest in software started fairly young. My father is also a software engineer so at the age of 16 he allowed me to come and work with him for a summer; from that point on I was hooked. It’s always been something I’ve found exciting, and each day provides new challenges and puzzles to overcome.

Being the first and only female in the Research and Development Team doesn’t intimidate me; in fact it inspires me to prove myself as a female software engineer. Having spent many years studying and working within the software and engineering sectors, I’m used to working in a very male dominated environment. Gender stereotypes in software are becoming less of an issue; I hope that people like myself can help make it even less of an issue and encourage more young women to join the industry.

My first few months here at ITL have been thoroughly enjoyable. There’s been a lot to learn about the products and the way people work here, but the other members of the software team have really helped me whenever I’ve needed it. I’ve come to learn very quickly that the people here are approachable, even those high up in the company are willing to give you their time. I’ve now taken on several projects of my own for some of our flagship products and look forward to continuing this work and many more projects to come!

Kat Graham, Software Engineer 17/06/14

Kat Graham

ITL Queen’s Award Celebrations

Last week we celebrated our Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade 2014 in style with a big party for all ITL’s European staff.

The Queen’s Award winners are announced each year on the Queen’s birthday, 21st April. Companies are notified beforehand but everything is in the strictest confidence, even staff cannot be notified until the official date. With a lot to organise I was privy to the information and everyone at ITL was told to save the date 6th June for a special event. Inevitably there were a lot of questions about what the party would be for and it was testing at times to keep the secret.

Finally, on the 21st April we were able to officially announce the Queen’s Award, our 3rd in the company’s history and I kicked the party organising into full throttle. The venue had been booked for months and it was now time to sort invites, table names, numbers, menus, gifts and music. Anyone who has ever organised an event will know that ‘final numbers’ constantly change but as the day of the party arrived the sun was shining and we were all ready for a good night.

We had just under 100 at the party to celebrate our Queen’s Award, with staff travelling in from Ireland, Spain, Germany and Russia just for the night. After a bucks fizz reception proceedings began with the official Queen’s Award presentation from the Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchester and thanks from Chairman David Bellis and MD Aidan Towey. We all enjoyed a three course meal and then the DJ got everyone up on the dance floor, where we stayed until the early hours of the morning.

I’m reliably informed that I finally made it up to bed at about 3:45 am. My feet are still hurting now, a mixture of the dancing and the shoes I think, but we all had an absolutely brilliant night!

Dayna Patterson, Marketing Executive 12/06/14

Queen's Award Celebrations 2014

A few images from ITL’s Queen’s Award Celebration Party, Friday 6th June 2014



The ‘not so secret’ diary of Ed Clark – Episode 11, The Penultimate Diary

I’ve been here at Innovative Technology for nearly a year now, but it doesn’t feel like it has been that long. I think the people that I’ve worked with and the work I have done has allowed me to enjoy the year and has made it go very quickly.

With Innovative’s International marketing growing in line with the business, Dayna has been looking for a permanent marketing assistant to come in after I leave, so last week I was given the opportunity to help out at the Marketing Graduate Assessment Day. It was good to see candidates in a similar field to me and was nice to have been involved in the process.

This month my focus has been largely switched away from marketing the offshoot businesses and back to focussing on the new products that Innovative are looking to release in the near future. There are a number of products that will be released shortly so I have been producing material ready for when they are ready to launch. I have needed to learn in a pretty short space of time about the different capabilities of the new products in order to be in a position to write about them. At this point I feel I should thank those that have been very patient in explaining the more technical information to me.

Another project of mine that has been ongoing is a staff video for the website. I have had to learn a lot about video production, editing and all of the other intricacies that go into making a short clip. The video will be ready before I leave at the end of June and I will link it to my last blog article on Friday 27th.

I was also asked this week to start getting ready to do a presentation to my bosses here at Innovative on my last day. It has been interesting again looking over my work from months ago and trying to summarise my year into a presentation. But don’t tell Aidan Towey (Managing Director) that the work I have been preparing for University on my work placement has come in very handy for content on my presentation.

The staff from the other offices around Europe have been arriving this morning for the Party tonight, and we are all looking forward to celebrating being awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise.

Edward Clark, Industrial Placement. 06/06/14

Edward Clark


Relocation, Relocation, Relocation

Vitor is one of the latest additions to ITL’s research and development team. Coming from Portugal, his journey to ITL is a unique one…

Just over a month ago I was living in Portugal, or more specifically Vila Nova de Famalicão; all of my family live there and that’s where I have grown up and spent the majority of my life. After training as a design engineer I spent a lot of time working on and designing large machinery; I really enjoyed my work but was keen to get involved in precision engineering, which is something that you can’t find as easily in Portugal.

I began searching for jobs around Europe on-line and on LinkedIn I came across an interesting job posted by ITL. I researched what looked like an exciting company to work for and after contacting the ITL recruitment team things moved very fast and I soon had an interview with Development Manager, John Robinson. Because I lived in Portugal, we conducted the initial interview over Skype and within a month I had relocated to the North West of England to start my new job.

When I initially applied for the job, I feared the communication barrier may cause problems. My English is very good but I worried, the fact that I wasn’t in the UK for a face to face interview might count against me. I had no reason to worry at all, the staff at ITL made it very easy for me. I also expected problems moving to the UK finding a place to live, but after spending a week in residence I was able to find a nice apartment to live in, convenient for work.

Two weeks after my initial interview I was settled in a new flat near Manchester and started my first day at ITL’s head office in Oldham. Although the weather here might not be what I am used to at home in Portugal, I find the work challenging and exciting and it is exactly the kind of job that I was looking for. After learning about the company and the products I have now started my first project working on the popular NV9 USB. Since moving here I have spent a lot of my free time exploring Manchester and in particular the nightlife which is fantastic!

Vitor Santos, Mechanical Design Engineer. 21/05/14


The pursuit of graduates …

I’m fast approaching my 3rd month at Innovative Technology. In that short space of time, I have seen ITL gain a Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade (their 3rd Queens Award to date) and be named the 13th fastest growing company in the UK by the Sunday Times. The excitement I felt when joining the company has only increased by witnessing the success it’s having.

I’ve spent my first few months learning about Innovative’s culture, products and people. My main focus since I started has been on Graduate, Apprenticeship & Student recruitment, with 10 roles available, not to mention opportunities for summer work experience; it’s been a challenge that I’m really enjoying.

I now have my first ITL careers fair under my belt; The Sheffield Spring into Jobs Fair that I attended with our Development Manager John Robinson. Although it wasn’t as busy as expected (probably due to the varsity games being held the day before) we did get the chance to talk to some really intelligent students and promote our engineering opportunities.

Due to the high volume of applications we received for our graduate vacancies we decided to run a Graduate Assessment Centre; a half day event that allowed the candidates to demonstrate a wide range of their skills across a variety of activities. This interview format provides a more rounded view of the candidate’s skills as well as providing the candidates with a great opportunity to showcase themselves; more so than in a standard interview. After a successful day we have made offers for 2 of the 3 roles we were looking to fill, and hope to have the third and final offer out shortly.

The next careers fair we will attend is the Yorkshire Graduate Recruitment Fair, held at the University of Leeds on 9th June. Come and see us to learn more about the company and find out about the opportunities we have available.

Recruitment Tip for Grads
You may not have a lot of relevant work-based experience for the role you are applying for, so be sure to include any relevant hobbies you have i.e. you may have built your own computer, you might restore car engines, you may have developed your own computer game! This will help your CV stand out to Recruiters and Hiring Managers.

With a new office being built on the Innovative Business Park, new locations being scouted worldwide and new businesses being created, we have a variety of opportunities for talented individuals to join the ITL family. For details on vacancies, visit:

Karen Holloren, Recruitment Coordinator. 01/05/14


The ‘not so secret’ diary of Ed Clark – Episode 7

January has been a busy start of the year for me; it has been all change with me leaving the Logistics team and joining up with Dayna in Marketing.

The prospect of spending the following months in marketing is an exciting one and one that I hope to learn a lot from. In true ITL style I was thrown straight into the deep end and have now written several articles for different trade magazines and seeing the first of these published a couple of weeks ago was a great feeling!

I was also given the opportunity to write a lot of content for SMART Ticket; our new product which was released at the start of this year at the ICE Gaming Exhibition, which, on a personal level has not only meant learning a lot about the new product but also about the people behind those products. This has been a great experience for me and I will be working on this over the coming months giving me a chance to help build a campaign for a completely new product.

As well as producing Marketing content I have been asked to aid in a Sales project that has occupied a lot of my time in January. This insight into the world of sales is something that I had yet to experience so definitely has added a lot of value for me personally and for the company I hope as well.

With the days getting slightly brighter (unfortunately not any warmer!) I go into the next period of my placement excitedly and relishing the opportunity to learn about the processes and practices that ITL use in Marketing their products.

Edward Clark, Industrial Placement. 19/02/14

Edward Clark

EAG Show Diary

EAG week begins with an early start on Monday morning as I head down to London for what will be my fourth EAG show since joining ITL.

The day before the show is always a busy day, setting up the stand and the products as we prepare for what we expected to be the biggest EAG to date.

Tuesday, the first day of the show got off to a fairly slow start but picked up as the day went on, as everyone arrived at Excel. EAG is a great start to the year and provides an opportunity to speak to customers old and new as well as putting a face to a name which is something that I find invaluable at exhibitions. Tuesday evening is the EAG party which is always a good night and once again a fantastic opportunity to mix with familiar faces as well as putting some new faces to a name!

By Wednesday the exhibition is in full swing and we are receiving very positive feedback about our products. To be able to meet face to face with customers and talk about the performance of our products is something that I rarely get the opportunity to do and it’s something that I find very interesting.

Wednesday evening brings the annual InterGame party, which again gives me and the sales team the opportunity to meet with partners and clients in a very informal setting.

By Thursday, we are all a little weary and with the show beginning to wind down it gives us a chance to look around the exhibition ourselves and see our products being used in different machines, not least spotting our new attractive rainbow bezels for the ITL Facebook page!

By the end of the day we are on our way back North having left the stand breakdown in the capable hands of salesmen John and Ian, after another successful EAG.

Laura Wallace, Sales Support Executive.

Laura Wallace

The ‘not so secret’ diary of Ed Clark – Episode 6, Happy New Year!

Whilst welcoming in the New Year I have entered into the second half of my 12 month work placement here at ITL.

December marked the end of my time with Bernie and Karen in Logistics. At the start of my 3 month logistics placement I was given a project that required me to learn a great deal about the intricacies of plastic purchasing and moulding.  This area of business is something that I haven’t come across in previous work or at University and has provided me with a lot of challenges throughout the three months. At the risk of sounding cheesy, the challenges that I faced with this project,  have made it a very rewarding few months, that I have gained an awful lot from – not least my trip to China. Seeing the industry and the different ways people work in such a unique environment.

While conducting my report for the logistics team I was able to explore many different business practices ranging from consignment, to optimal buying quantities, all of which have given me a very valuable and rounded overview of purchasing and logistics.  Alongside doing my report into the plastic supply chain I have also experienced inventory control and management which provided a real insight into the challenges of materials management and distribution, as well as my first experience of a yearend stocktake!

I now look forward to spending the next 6 months of my time here at ITL in Marketing with Dayna and working closely with the sales & marketing department to get a thorough understanding of this area of business in the remaining months of my placement.

Edward Clark, Industrial Placement. 13/01/14

Edward Clark

A week in the life of an ITL sales man

Being part of the ITL sales team is a fantastic job and there is certainly nothing boring about an average week.

Monday starts at Hamburg Airport collecting some of our International Trading Partners for technical training at our German office in Pinneberg. The training is designed to arm our Partners with the knowledge required to re-sell our products in their local markets, as well as how to service our product range through technical training from my colleagues in the customer support team. Training courses like this lead to one of the perks of a sales man – entertaining clients, so that evening we take all of the attendees into Hamburg for a nice meal!

Wednesday and after weeks of preparation I am on the autobahn on route to one of Europe’s most important vending shows in Cologne. As a member of the sales team you have to have no fear of travelling, be it by car, train or plane. Europe is fast becoming one big ‘local’ market so you cannot be afraid of travel. One of the main rules for trade shows is expect the unexpected so after struggling to find our exact stand location the booth is finally prepared and we are ready for the 3 day show which runs until 6pm on Saturday!

One thing you can rely on as a sales man is that there are no regular hours, especially during a show but it is all worth it after the first day with a record number of visitor enquiries from over 7 different countries.

Christian Czeskleba, Business Development Manager,                                                     Innovative Technology Germany 21/10/13



The ‘not so secret’ diary of Ed Clark – Episode 3

It’s that time of the month again; this the third instalment of my intern Blog. Wow where has that time gone?

I’ve now finished my first month and a bit with the ITL logistics department and have to say I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here so far. The project that I have been set up with has really taken me out of my “comfort zone”, where I have had to use knowledge gained at university while quickly learning much more about plastic polymers, thanks in a big way to Afqad; our resident materials scientist who has very nicely given me several science lessons and has been very patient with me as I have delved into the world of thermoplastics and injection moulding.

The work that I’m doing with our plastic materials will fit nicely with my trip to our facilities and suppliers in China, which is just over a month away now.

As Autumn is now very much upon us, I think the largest adjustment that I have had to make has been getting used to getting up and going to work while it is still dark outside! It’s certainly not something that I’m particularly used to having spent my last two years at university.

Having spent more time this month looking at our parts and products I have gained a lot more knowledge of our products and of manufacturing as a whole which is something I value very highly. So I leave you now looking forward to moving on with my work on plastic purchasing and my impending trip to China.

Edward Clark, Industrial Placement. 14/10/13

Edward Clark, Industrial Placement

The world of banknotes!

Before you work in the cash handling industry banknotes are shopping money, or a reason once or twice a year (if you’re lucky) to get excited at the start of your holiday as you pick up your foreign currency! You might check the exchange rate but I doubt you think about who is on the notes or what they represent.

Most banknotes feature famous faces from a Country’s History – presidents, inventors, even sports people. As Head of the Commonwealth, Queen Elizabeth II appears on more banknotes than anyone else including notes from Australia, Canada and the UK. Throughout her reign the Queen has featured on banknotes from over 33 different countries.

australian_dollar_notes Australian 5 Dollar

Today there are ~ 210 different currencies worldwide, each classified with a three letter code (as documented in ISO 4217). These 3 letter codes indicate the country and currency and are widely used in the cash handling industry. eg. The Swiss franc is represented by CHF. CH is the country code for Switzerland and F indicates the franc.

fiji  one penny 1266-f Fiji 1 Penny

The world’s lowest denomination note the Fiji 1 penny, was issued in 1942 when the old penny was 1/240 of a pound. The world’s highest denomination note was issued in Hungary in 1946. The 100 Million B-Pengo (100,000,000,000,000,000,000) was only worth about U.S. $0.20!

Dayna Patterson, Marketing Executive 16.09.13

Dayna Patterson

The ‘not so secret’ diary of Ed Clark – Episode 2

Episode 2  –  “They’re sending me to China!”

I am now approaching the end of my second month here at ITL and I have just been given the news that as part of my placement in the Logistics team, I will have the opportunity to visit our factory in Shenzhen, China this November.

Don’t worry, I am assured that my trip to China is a business exercise and it is not that they are sick of me already! However I won’t talk about that now because you’ll hear all about that in episode 5 of my blog I’m sure.

The conclusion of my second month brings about the end of my time working with Carole in Recruitment. Recruiting and HR was never something that I considered as a possible career option and I can’t say it’s something that really piqued my interest during my first two years of university.  So if you’d told me at the start of July that I would regard the discipline so highly by September you would probably have been met with a pretty dismissive tone.

ITL have allowed me to look at recruiting subjectively, and implement some of my own strategies which has been an invaluable experience for me. Whilst learning about recruitment I have also been able to implement real life business strategy, putting the scenarios and exercise from university into practise.

The way in which ITL have let me go about my work is unique in the trust and confidence that they have invested in me as an intern. And apologies If I sound like a broken record here but I think that the way they have treated me is a reflection on the investment in individuals that ITL make, as David Bellis told me when I first arrived; “If somebody tells me they can do a job when they come in, we simply let them do it, and give them every chance to succeed”.

Edward Clark, Industrial Placement. 06/09/13

Edward Clark, Industrial Placement

Living in a Material World!

After five months working for Innovative Technology Ltd (ITL), I have discovered that it is a voyage of constant reward and hard work.

Developing and building relationships with such a diverse team of engineers, scientists and technicians both in and outside the United Kingdom is a role that I both relish and enjoy.

When it comes down to the materials used in the manufacturing of our products, we constantly strive to improve our existing materials and investigate possible future alternatives to meet the ever changing demands of the competitive world market.

On a personal level, ITL’s strict ethical guidelines in the selection of materials is something that appeals to me very highly. Wherever possible ITL avoids sourcing materials from volatile areas of the world. With each of our suppliers, due diligence is checked regularly to ensure our morale standards are upheld to the highest possible levels. Our choice of materials is compliant with Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive (RoHS) and Underwriter Laboratories (UL).

Since joining ITL, I have become very aware of their approach towards the research and development of new materials, specifically composites (nanocomposites), to meet the needs of our worldwide customers. In order to provide the highest quality products, we use advanced techniques such as Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR Spectroscopy) that check for the presence of any unwanted impurity/regrind in the polymeric materials, and we are continuously evaluating the effects of pre and post moulding processing on the final products.

I have been given a wonderful opportunity to travel to China in September. I will be training engineers at our factory in Shenzhen in FTIR Spectroscopy techniques, to ensure the high standards of technology that ITL are renowned for, are met. I am looking forward to an exciting future with ITL and playing a part in the expansion and development of the company.

Afqad Arshad, Materials Scientist 14.08.13

Afqad Arshad

The ‘not so secret’ diary of Ed Clark

Episode 1

As I approach the end of my first month at ITL, I have come to reflect on my time here so far. I am on a placement year at Innovative Technology as part of my University degree.

When I arrived on my first day I have to say I approached “proper” work experience with a certain amount of trepidation, with many of my older friends feeling inclined to tell me that I was more than likely going to spend the year making coffee. This couldn’t have been less true. With interns being stereotypically the lowest in the workplace pecking order I was surprised to be almost immediately thrown into the deep end and told to sink or swim. Apologies for the clichés.

I was tasked with running my project whilst also learning as much as possible about the products and business culture to give a well-rounded report. This may make it sound to an outsider as a harsh environment in which to begin my forays into working life, however it was quite to the contrary. The staff where incredibly warm and helpful making my integration into the business a swift one, and quite shockingly I ended up eating my lunch at the table with Chairman (MBE David Bellis) and Managing Director (Aidan Towey).  One again might think this to be an intimidating affair however both addressed me as if I was a seasoned employee putting me immediately at ease.

Through the on-going process of my individual project I subconsciously reminded myself that “I’m only the intern, this work I’m doing isn’t actually going to be considered by the powers that be, are they?” but there I was, a week later presenting my information to none other than the MD and other Department Heads.

So after a month of working here I have drawn some running conclusions. No matter who you are in this company, your voice means just as much as anybody else’s does, if the work you’ve done is relevant, which does make ITL a fairly unique place to work as a young person where the opportunities for personal development are very much down to the individual. (warning, another cliché!) you get out of it what you put in!

David Bellis calls it a “horizontal” management technique that is in place that allows for an environment where an individual can rise in the company, and help from senior figures is always to hand. As for a recommendation, the way this company allows for individuals to develop makes it a brilliant place to work, and a job here really couldn’t be more highly recommended by me, but who knows, I’m only an intern!

Edward Clark, Industrial Placement. 01/08/13

Edward Clark, Industrial Placement