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Elaine M

Page history last edited by Elaine M 15 years, 11 months ago

1. Introduction



Brett Martin Ltd is a multi-site plastics manufacturing company based in Mallusk, Northern Ireland with distribution in over 70 countries world-wide. 


For the past few years, Brett Martin Ltd has offered placement students the position of Junior Web Designer/ Programmer within the IS department. This represents an excellent opportunity to work within a first-class international company and to fully assume the challenges of working in a cutting-edge and competitive environment. 


Placement students are given excellent training and, in return, they are expected to make a significant contribution to the Development team. Obviously such training equips placement students with a better understanding of a real working environment and prepares them for their working lives after graduation. The current position’s contract commenced on 30th July 2007. 



1.1          History and Development of Brett Martin



Brett Martin is a privately owned family business which has been the twice winner of the Queens’ award for Export Achievement and has been previously named as Northern Ireland Exporter of the Year. Brett Martin is a global company dedicated to local service which has seven sites in the UK and one in the Netherlands.



Founded by Mr. Billy Martin in 1953, the company was formerly known as WH Martin Plastics Ltd, manufacturing two profiles of GRP (Glass Reinforced Plastic) sheet, sold for roof-lights in agricultural buildings across Northern Ireland. As the company developed it started to produce profiled PVC sheets and also to distribute drainage pipes and fittings for a company named Brett Plastics Ltd, who were also based in Northern Ireland.  



In 1978 Brett Plastics Ltd. was bought over by W.H. Martin Plastics Ltd, which resulted in Brett Martin Ltd. 



By the end of the 1980’s Brett Martin had three core business sectors: Roof lights; Semi-Finished plastic sheets; and Drainage products. Most products were manufactured in Mallusk.  A complete re-branding of the company in the 1990’s gave Brett Martin Ltd a strong company identity.



In the 1990’s and 2003 Brett Martin Ltd purchased sites in the UK and Amsterdam, one being the multi UK site manufacturer, ‘Hartington Conway’. 



Brett Martin products are used worldwide in shopping centers, football stadiums (one being Manchester United football stadium), public service buildings, airports, industrial warehouses and domestic homes where Brett Martin roof-lights, drainage and building products are used. 



Today Brett Martin has a workforce of over 1000 people spread throughout its eight sites, and has a turnover approaching £110 million.


1.2. Brett Martin E-Business


Brett Martin Ltd. is made up of a number of divisions that work as individual entities from Accounts & Finance to Research & Development (See Appendix 2 Organizational Structure of employing body). The placement student is placed within the Marketing department, under the supervision of Mr. John Bell (Technical Business Analyst).  The E-business team has brought a major competitive advantage to the company and delivers many cost effective systems which help the company such as the ‘Purchase Order System’ and the new company wide product specification database BMEindex.

The main aims and objectives of the E-business development team are:


  • Development and maintenance of the company’s websites including Brett Martin LTD, Daylight Systems, Ariel Plastics, Harcon, Brett Martin Central America and Brett Martin USA.
  • Multiple language sites for sites listed above
  • Online presentation and reporting
  • Company wide Intranet
  • Customer ordering and purchasing online (Extranet)
  • Customer Order and Stock Tracking facility (Extranet)
  • Sales and marketing support for sales teams for distributors
  • Contact Management database
  • Product details / Technical support database
  • Integrated Customer Relationship Management Systems


1.3. Organizational Structure of Marketing department



1.4. Organizational Structure of Development Department



2. Job Description


As Junior Web designer/programmer, the placement students’ initial objective is to perform tasks relating to the ongoing development and maintenance of the Brett Martin web site and sub websites.  One of the main duties within the company is to update various sections of the websites ensuring that all editorial, design, layout and technical guidelines are followed. Updating or designing sections of the websites require information from various sources throughout the company, particularly the Marketing department. The information is received in PDF format which is extracted and transferred to the current projects in progress. The placement student would also be involved with other multimedia tasks such as creating CD-ROMs, online surveys, email shots, and the re-design of the Brett Martin website.



2.1. Skills needed to carry out the job


To perform the tasks necessary for the maintenance and design of the Brett Martin web site and sub sites, ongoing E-business projects such as the Company Intranet, CD-ROM Presentations, Web applications, there are certain criteria that is followed for an applicant to receive an interview:


Essential requirements of the position included:

  • Knowledge of HTML and CSS, to design and implement webpages
  • JavaScript and XML, to update different sections of the current website 
  • Experience in using Macromedia Dreamweaver or Microsoft Visual Web Developer
  • Experience in producing Adobe Flash enabled web pages 
  • Image editing software: Adobe Photoshop, Fireworks or Paint shop Pro. 
  • Experience in designing web graphics.



Applicants also had to be able to demonstrate excellent communication and organizational skills with the ability to use their own initiative and work with minimum supervision. Outstanding attention to detail is also essential. Candidates not only need a flair for design but need to be technically adept, keen to learn and implement all web related technologies and skills.



2.2. Skills developed and learnt whilst on placement


Placement students have the chance to develop skills taught in 1st and 2nd year of University whilst learning new applications to help fulfill the job role and give them a basic knowledge of these applications that will be used in final year and the near future.


2.2.1. Skills Developed



During 1st and 2nd year of University, IMD students are taught:- 


Macromedia Dreamweaver to create a website using HTML and CSS, a skill required when applying for the placement position, as the Brett Martin website and sub-websites are altered and developed using this software and these languages. This allows the placement student to develop their skills and knowledge of this software package. The student not only uses HTML and CSS to create the websites but also JavaScript and C# are required to update different sections of the websites. 


Macromedia Flash MX2004 to create animations and advertisements depending on the module set. This gives placement students an understanding of the software package they will use to develop their skills in Brett Martin, and in the future. Brett Martin uses Macromedia Flash to create advertisements on the websites as well as CD-ROMs. When creating CD-ROMs action script is required, allowing placement students to develop the skills learnt at university to another level. 


Adobe Photoshop to create posters and many other graphical based projects including imagery for the use in websites. Adobe Photoshop is used frequently in Brett Martin to create advertisements for the websites, assist when creating web pages, and for emailshots. Due to Brett Martin redesigning the website and sub-websites, Adobe Photoshop is used frequently to create designs for the new websites. Placement students are able to use the skills that they were taught, develop skills further for projects that need carried out by using new tools and also experiment with tools that have never been used before. 


JavaScript to create slideshows on web pages, add date and time to web pages and forms. Brett Martin also use JavaScript to create forms, therefore allows placement students to refresh their memory of JavaScript and possible adapt this skill. 


Brett Martin is a large company therefore this allows placement students to develop communication skills, work as part of a large team and deal with people from other departments. 




2.2.2. Skills Learnt




2.3. Social Aspects of the Job 


In Brett Martin Ltd there are various social activities both during and after working hours. During working hours office staff would attend group lunches for farewells, birthday lunches or times when they felt they deserved a treat. 


There would also be nights out for similar occasions:

-         Previously the placement student went to the Odyssey Arena with a member of staff from the Commercial department to see Take That, courtesy of Vodafone who supplied the tickets to Brett Martin.  


-        Christmas work do/farewell, office staff and past employees went to Café Conor for something to eat, then to Café Vaudeville for a few sociable drinks. 

3. Induction and Training


At Brett Martin, it’s the company policy that all employees receive full training in all areas regarding health and safety.  The induction takes place over the first week of employment along with a brief discussion on the history of the company and a tour around the factory area and offices. Everyone is given a personal copy of the Brett Martin handbook which outlines all the company’s rules and regulations such as dress code, leave entitlements, holidays and so on.  Training also includes kinetic lifting, how and which fire extinguisher to use and evacuation procedures. 


Placements students at Brett Martin would receive training about the company and what the different types of plastic is used for from the placement supervisor. There is also a three week hand over period from the previous placement student, however if there is no hand over period another member of staff would work alongside the placement student to give guidance and training were ever needed to carry out the job role.


The Placement Student receives training throughout the year on software packages and applications needed for certain tasks:


Macromedia Dreamweaver MX 2004:

The placement student is shown how to manage the Brett Martin website and sub-websites via Macromedia Dreamweaver, and how to upload work to each server and to upload to the live server via a Proxy Server using GlobalSCAPE Cute FTP Pro. The layout of the websites are explained, and any necessary training is given on HTML, CSS, JavaScript and C# so they student will be able to update the website with little problem. 


Stylus Studio XML Professional Edition:

XML is used with the Development department to update the main navigation for all websites, update the Ariel Plastics stockist section of the website and to insert links onto the Brett Martin website via a Reciprocal Link Exchange program.



Training is given on an Application program that was developed by a member of staff so the main navigation on all the websites can be edited.


Microsoft Visual Web Developer 2008:

The placement student will be able to create sitemaps of all the websites from this program with little training.


Macromedia Flash MX 2004:

The placement student is taught Action Script so the skills developed at university can be expanded upon to assist with the needs of the company and to assist with final year projects at university.


Adobe Photoshop:

Basic training is given so the placement student knows what way to deal with the demands of the Marketing department. On a regular basis the Marketing department request emailshots and includes. Adobe Photoshop is also used to edit images and brochures for the websites.


Microsoft Excel:

Basic training is given on Microsoft Excel, so the placement student can create schemas so the Excel document can be converted into an XML document.


XSLT, JavaScript, C#, CSS: Significant training is given on computer languages when needed to complete a task. The languages stated are used throughout the Brett Martin website and sub-websites. CSS is used more so than the other languages for the layout of the website. C# and JavaScript are mainly used for contact forms.


All members of staff are given necessary training and support when ever needed to help complete tasks, with the opportunity to go on courses and order books if it helps with training. You are encouraged to use new computer languages where ever possible to develop new skills, and if there are any problems with anything a member of staff will try and help.



Comments (3)

Paul.W said

at 11:54 am on Apr 8, 2008

How long did it take you to learn the respective new languages Elaine? I don't remember being taught either of those three in our web programming class, but did you use mySQL / PHP?

Also, is the URL just http://www.brettmartin.com/ ?

Karen said

at 7:40 pm on Apr 27, 2008

Good job k

Karen said

at 1:47 pm on May 7, 2008

Elaine, third person would be best except for the reflection bit which should be first person.



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