Lukáš Kalus works with machining machines in the Czech Republic — machines that make parts for other machines. The job was created with backing from the European Investment Bank, the EU bank.

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In Otice, Strojírna Vehovský s.r.o. manufactures machine parts that require an extremely high degree of precision, such as railway wheels, parts for oil rigs to dig into the seabed, or injection moulds for machines that are used to produce plastic bottles in.

The company’s newest machines, bought with the help of a loan from the European Investment Bank, the EU bank, have allowed Strojírna to hire around 75 new workers. One of them is Lukáš, who joined after studying some engineering and received further training on the job.

Lukáš initially worked on the machines, but soon moved on to work in the quality control department. Now he is a computer numerical control programmer. “My job is not only programming the machines, but also developing new technologies. I also work with the sales department on creating business offers and help solve problems for my colleagues to ensure production continues,” he says.

Matěj Vehovský and his sister, Lucie Vehovská, are the second generation to run Strojírna as a family business. “My father and mother, who started the company, still come to work every day, doing more strategic thinking,” Matěj says. “Right now they’re contemplating building a second machining hall.”

The company’s first machining hall currently houses around 15 computer numerical control) machines. These machines can take a piece of metal as large as a cubic metre and drill, bore, cut or otherwise manipulate it by computer according to a programmed design. Many of the company’s machines were financed by Société Générale Equipment Finance, which in turn secured the funding for its support for small and medium-sized enterprises from the European Investment Bank.

“You need really high-quality machines, because the parts you make have to comply with lots of norms and policies. You can imagine, if something happened because a drill or a wheel you made was not perfect, it could cause a catastrophe,” says Matěj. “So the machines to make these parts cost a lot of money.”

“The EU-supported loan helped us get a competitive edge,” Matěj explains. “80% of what we do is for multinational conglomerates, who source from all over the world, from China, India, the Middle East. We have been able to focus on the high-end part of the business and compete with these companies all over the world successfully. We started small and have been able to grow.”

Lukáš’s job is one of millions created all around Europe with the support of the EU bank.  If you take the investments signed by the EIB Group in a single year, for example in 2017, these loans are expected to have raised EU GDP by 1.1% and to have created 1.2 million jobs by 2021.  Even in 2036, there will still be a 0.7% increase in EU GDP as a result of the EIB's investments from that one single year, as well as 650,000 extra jobs.

Lukáš’s future aims are very clear. “My goal is to be the best programmer in the region and, of course, to make some money,” he says.