Keighley company Viking has invested in its future by installing a new slitting machine – and a new apprentice to run it.
The tapes, adhesives and abrasives distribution firm, based at Coronation Business Centre in Hard Ings Road, has employed its first engineering apprentice, 18-year-old Luke Summers, of Shipley.
Under the tutelage of slitting department manager Darren Milner, Luke 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.
Luke left Titus Salt School in Baildon with 12 GGSEs 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. Your 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 Luke 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 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.
“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.”
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 very future. We are currently expanding and Luke has a golden opportunity to grow with the business.”
The company said it had plans to take on a second apprentice to supplement the office team later this year.
Established 25 years ago in 1989, Viking is a strategic partner of global technology giant 3M. The company remains the leading online supplier of 3M products in the UK and ranks among its top three performers overall.
With a strong trading base in place across West, North and East Yorkshire, at the beginning of the year Viking launched a new branch office in Manvers, near Rotherham, to underpin identified expansion potential in South Yorkshire and beyond.