A Keighley company’s first engineering apprentice is learning his trade on new machinery bought by the expanding business.

Tapes, adhesives and abrasives distribution firm Viking has taken on 18-year-old Luke Summers, from Shipley, initially for 12 months.

Luke is learning to operate Viking’s new £40,000 automatic slitting machine, which converts large rolls of tape into smaller sizes without unwinding, under the guidance of department manager Darren Milner. The new kit supplements an existing slitter and has been installed to meet growing demand .

After leaving Titus Salt School in Baildon with 12 GGSEs, Luke wanted to learn a trade.

He said: “I tried being an electrician, plumber and joiner, before securing an 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 contacted The Apprenticeship Training Agency in Little Germany, while searching for a new apprentice.

Stacey Jobson, ATA director, said: “We assist businesses across the Bradford district to expand through taking on apprentices, then actively match them with a training provider to equip them with the practical skills and qualifications employers are looking for.

“Apprenticeships like those at Viking are enabling young people all over the district to get an essential ‘foot in the door’ in their chosen industry.”

Colin Bennet, Viking’s managing director, 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.”

He said Viking was planning to recruit a second apprentice in the office later this year.

Windhill & Wrose ward councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, executive member for employment, skills and culture, set the ball rolling after speaking to Luke and advising the ATA of his impending application.

She said: “Luke showed great initiative. 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.”