Viking advances with its first engineering apprentice

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VIKING, the Keighley-based tapes, adhesives and abrasives distribution firm, has taken on its first engineering apprentice to run a newly installed slitting machine.

The business has employed 18-year-old Luke Summers, of Shipley.

Under the tutelage of slitting department manager Darren Milner, Mr Summers is learning to operate Viking’s new £40,000 ALS 300SL automatic roll slitter, which converts large rolls of tape into smaller sizes without unwinding.

It supplements an existing ALS log slitter and has been installed to meet growing demand in the sector.

Mr Summers left Titus Salt School in Baildon with 12 GCSEs and a desire 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 enlisted the help of the Apprenticeship Training Agency (ATA) in Little Germany, Bradford, in its search for a new apprentice and Mr Summers has now been taken on for an initial 12-month programme, with all training delivered in-house.

ATA director Stacey Jobson 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, with the result that they become competent and valuable members of staff by the end of their apprenticeship programme.”

Viking’s managing director Colin Bennett said: “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.”

Viking said it had plans to take on a second apprentice to supplement the office team later this year. The company was established 25 years ago and is a strategic partner of global technology giant 3M.

Viking, which has a turnover of around £4m, launched a new branch office in Manvers, near Rotherham, to underpin identified expansion potential in South Yorkshire and beyond.

Coun Susan Hinchcliffe, who represents Windhill and Wrose on Bradford Council and serves on its executive, holding the portfolio of employment, skills and culture, said: “Luke showed great initiative. He got in touch with me after seeing us advertise the Get Bradford Working programme in one of our Windhill & Wrose 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.”