A growing Keighley company has taken on its first engineering apprentice.

Luke Summers will operate a newly-installed £40,000 machine at Viking – a tapes, adhesives and abrasives distribution firm based at the Coronation Business Centre in Hard Ings Road.

Under the tutelage of slitting department manager, Darren Milner, 18-year-old Luke is currently learning to operate the machinery, which converts large rolls of tape into smaller sizes without unwinding.

Viking recruited Luke through the Apprenticeship Training Agency in Little Germany, Bradford. He has been appointed on an initial year-long programme, with all training delivered in-house.

Luke said: “I tried being an electrician, plumber and joiner before securing the engineering apprenticeship with Viking.

“It is more hands-on and I am really enjoying the work. You are set for life if you have a proper trade.”

Viking managing director, Colin Bennett, said he was delighted with the appointment.

He added: “By taking on an apprentice, we’re not only helping a young person forge a career by learning from an experienced team, but we’re also looking to our own future. We are currently expanding, and Luke has a golden opportunity to grow with the business.”

Luke’s apprenticeship ‘journey’ began after he had a conversation with Bradford councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, the executive member for employment, skills and culture.

She said: “He got in touch with me after seeing us advertise the Get Bradford Working programme in one of our ward leaflets. When I spoke to him, I was impressed with his energy. He was really keen to find the right career opportunity, so I had no hesitation in referring him to the Apprenticeship Training Agency.

“It’s National Apprenticeship Week at the beginning of March, and Luke’s journey is one that can be held aloft as a shining example of the positive impact of apprenticeships.” Viking, a partner of global technology giant 3M and the leading online supplier of its products in the UK, plans to take on a second apprentice to boost its office team later this year.