Philip Gerken

Quality Control Supervisor Teal & Mackrill


“Being able to fit the studying and the exams into my own schedule is perfect.”

Modules Undertaken
  • L2

    201 General Overview of Coatings

  • L2

    202 Media and Solvents

  • L2

    203 Pigments and their Properties

  • L2

    204 Paint and Ink Manufacture - Rheology

  • L2

    205 Evaluation

  • L2

    206 Surface Preparation

  • L3

    301 Types and Manufacture of Pigments

  • L3

    302 Properties of Pigments

  • L3

    314 Manufacture – Paint

  • L3

    315 Manufacture – Ink

  • L3

    329 Application – Metallic Substrates

  • L3

    330 Application – Non-Metallic Substrates

  • L3

    333 Coatings – Safety, Health and Environmental Aspects

Once in a while, a company or organisation gets an employee or member who represents an archetype of everything it wants to be in terms of input and image. When it comes to The Coatings Training Institute’s training courses, this archetype is Phil Gerken, a quality control supervisor for Teal & Mackrill in Hull, Yorkshire.

He started working for the T&M in 1998 and the company suggested that he might benefit from taking some of The Coatings Training Institute training modules. He took on the Foundation level in 2002, once he felt comfortable in his role.

“There were a few stops and starts on that level,” he points out. “There were a lot of difficulties at that time, but I battled on and finally completed the course in 2004.

“I think it shows how much notice The Coatings Training Institute takes because they gave me an award for that, the Outstanding Achievement Award. They put on a ceremony for all the winners – it was a great day out. I appreciated that a lot.”

Phil has seen a lot of changes in The Coatings Training Institute courses since he started more than a decade ago, but all of them, he feels, for the better.

“I’m doing the Level 3 module, Application – Metallic Substrates, at the moment and the final exam will be with me next week. A few years ago, this would have meant an examiner coming out to me at a set time, but now I can do the exam when it suits me.

“As I said, I work for a small company and sometimes you can’t afford to take time out, so being able to fit the studying and the exams into my own schedule is perfect. There’s no pressure, so if you need to take a break, you can.”

Phil has worked his way up to his current position of supervisor from lab assistant, so have The Coatings Training Institute training modules helped? “Oh, yes. Without a doubt. When I started out, I can’t really say that I had any expectations, but these courses are really intensive and you think you aren’t going to remember anything, but then you find yourself explaining things to younger members of staff and you realize that it has all gone in. It has surprised me like that more than once.

“I’m moving up to Technical Service soon and a lot of the courses I have done will really help when I find myself having to talk to customers.”

It almost seems pointless to ask Phil whether he has enjoyed the experience, as the answer seems too obvious, but we ask it anyway. “Yes, I think I can say I have enjoyed it. There was one module on the last level, Evaluation of Colour, which was so interesting – well, I’m a colourist, so I guess it should be, but this is another great thing about the courses. You can cherry pick the relevant modules and the subjects you really want to do – and the ones you really need to do.

So what for the future? Phil says he is planning to complete Level 3 over the next couple of years and then take a break from studying for a while. “I’ll discuss future courses with my managers and we’ll see what’s best to do after that. As I said, this method of studying is perfect for my company. If they had to send me off to university, it would be a real strain – but yes, I’ll keep on studying.”