A HARWICH labelling machinery company has taken on a new apprentice with the help of funding from a charity that aims to train the next generation of engineers.

PPMA Business Education Skills and Training offers apprenticeship grants and bursaries to help provide a pathway for young people to enter and develop a career in engineering.

Luke Mealing, of Harwich, will receive on-the-job training at Premier Labellers, based in the Old Mercedes Building in Bathside Bay.

Along with study time and a full-time salary to help him to achieve industry recognised qualifications, he will complete his apprenticeship programme and be totally debt free.

Tracie White, PPMA director and chief executive of Premier Labellers, said: “As a business apprenticeships are key to fitting in with our ethos of developing people, they can gain practical experience in a real role with genuine responsibility.

“Learning from inspiring industry experts and gain true life skills that will stay with them forever.

“Luke has passion which is one of the most important qualities that I look for in an employee, having the enthusiasm to continue to learn throughout the training is a recipe for success in any industry.”

Harwich and Manningtree Standard: Apprentice - Luke Mealing working at Premier Labellers, HarwichApprentice - Luke Mealing working at Premier Labellers, Harwich (Image: Submitted)

Even before starting at Premier Labellers Luke always had an interest in fixing things and working with his hands.

Luke said, “I have always enjoyed the idea of taking things apart and finding out how they work or trying to fix stuff, something I learnt from my dad who has been an engineer for over 30 years.

“From a young age I had fixed a broken radio and VHS deck, and seeing something you have spent many hours on fixing finally coming back to life gave me a feeling of excitement like no other.”

Premier Labellers have been PPMA members for over 20 years and were able to assist Luke in applying for the apprenticeship grant.

Luke added: “I’d also like to say thank you to PPMA BEST for the grant as I have been able to buy some very nice tools that will help me in my job.”

The charity also works with PPMA members to form links with local schools and colleges to help inspire young people through interactive STEM-based activities.

Companies can apply to PPMA BEST on behalf of their apprentices in order to access financial support.

To find out more, go to ppma.co.uk.