Representing your country in an international competition is the dream of many people, but for one young former apprentice from Clackmannanshire in Scotland that dream is about to become a reality.
Callum Bonner, 21, who trained at Forth Valley College and who works for Clackmannanshire Council has been selected by WorldSkills UK to compete in Painting and Decorating at WorldSkills Kazan 2019. When the news was broken to him by WorldSkills UK that he was on plane to Russia with Team UK he was absolutely buzzing. Callum said: “This means so much to me. I was lost for words when they told me. Having competed EuroSkills last year, I know the competition will be tough but I am determined to give it my all and do everyone proud.”
Known as the ‘Skills Olympics’, WorldSkills will take place in the Tatarstan capital, 800km east of Moscow, from 22-27 August. The Competition, which happens every two years, will see the top apprentices from over 60 countries compete in skills ranging from Car Painting to Bricklaying to Mechanical Engineering to win Gold, Silver and Bronze.
As any elite sports star will tell you, representing your country is no easy feat. It takes hard work, dedication and a huge amount of skill. All traits that Callum has displayed since he first got involved in WorldSkills UK Competitions. Callum was put forward for the SkillBuild, which is run by CITB in partnership with WorldSkills UK, by Forth Valley College. After excelling in the National Finals at WorldSkills UK LIVE at the NEC in 2017, Callum was invited to join the WorldSkills international training and development programme where he was supported in his training by WorldSkills UK Expert Michael Swan, a tutor at Dundee and Angus College and Mark Nevin of Nevin of Edinburgh who won Gold at WorldSkills Calgary 2009. As part of his training, Callum competed in the European Skills Competition in Budapest last year.
As well as focusing on their technical skills, the apprentices who are selected for Team UK also follow a similar programme to that of top athletes, this is because they need the mind-set of a Gold medallist when they compete at WorldSkills, which attracts over 100,000 visitors over four days. Working with specialist coaches, they focus on developing key attributes including problem solving, working under pressure, team work and leadership, all of which are essential to delivering a medal winning performance.
Dr Neil Bentley-Gockmann, Chief Executive of WorldSkills UK which selects and trains Team UK and uses their success to promote skills across the country said: “This is a life changing opportunity for Callum and the other 31 members of Team UK. They have worked tirelessly for weeks, months and years to be the best – they are a shining example to the next generation. We will use the insights gained from competing to help drive up standards in apprenticeship programmes across the UK.”
Callum will now spend the next five months training as he prepares to take on the best painters in the World.
Callum is supported in training by Crown Paints.
To register for the WorldSkills UK 2019 Competitions please visit www.worldskillsuk.org by 5 April