A KEIGHLEY manufacturing firm was praised by the prime minister following a visit to its factory.

Rishi Sunak said Byworth Boilers was helping to drive local growth.

He was given a tour of the Parkwood Street plant last Friday morning, accompanied by Keighley MP Robbie Moore.

Mr Sunak met staff and tried his hand at wiring up an emission-monitoring software device.

He spoke to apprentices including 24-year-old Harry Pullan, who took first place at the WorldSkills UK national welding finals and was nominated by Mr Moore as a 'skills champion', attending a Downing Street reception.

Mr Sunak said: "I was delighted to visit Keighley to meet with hardworking apprentices and staff at Byworth Boilers. The company is driving local growth and helping young people gain valuable skills and secure high-skilled jobs.

"Our plan as a Government is working, with over 5.7 million people starting apprenticeships since 2010 – enabling young people to climb the ladder of opportunity to good jobs and higher wages.

"We are delivering on our promise to build an 'apprenticeships nation' and it is places like Keighley that will be at the heart of this plan."

Mr Moore said: "Our fantastic manufacturing sector helped build this town, and as Keighley’s MP I want to see the sector transition into a new era of greatness.

"It was fantastic to introduce the prime minister to Keighley’s next generation of apprentices at Byworth Boilers – a brilliant local business leading the way in its sector and putting our town on the map right across the globe.

"The visit was also a chance to show the prime minister the hard work, grit and determination of people on display every day in Keighley and highlight that our town is a powerhouse of talent, able thrive on our own terms outside of the control of Bradford Council."

Over the years, Byworth Boilers has grown to become one of the leading manufacturers of industrial boilers in the country.

In 1991 it was awarded a prestigious Royal Albert Hall contract for four new steam boilers, and in recent years it has been at the forefront of several innovations in the industry.

Last year, the company shared in funding from the Keighley Towns Fund business growth programme to help buy new equipment, to increase capacity and improve productivity.

The firm, which at present employs 130 people, is aiming to take on up to 25 extra workers.