As Car Painting Training Manager for WorldSkills UK, Rich Wheeler supports the next generation of industry professionals as they get ready to kick-start their careers.
Rich is currently training the 2019 Team UK Car Painting competitor, Conor McKevitt, who is preparing for WorldSkills Kazan 2019. He uses international best practice to shape the curriculum at Coleg Gwent in Newport, Wales, where he works as a lecturer.
This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity will see over 60 nations compete in 56 skills across five days. Conor is around halfway through his training programme that will see him reach world-class standards in readiness for competition. Starting at the end of the National Finals at WorldSkills UK LIVE 2017, Rich has led Conor on an 18-month training programme. Initially, his training focused on test projects used at previous international competitions to get him ready for the standards needed at this global level.
Training to last a lifetime
Conor’s training is designed to ensure he reaches world-class standards, but Rich careful to ensure everything he learns can be used in his day-to-day work. This includes refinishing a door inside and out in two colours; spot repairs; colour matching by eye; and masking and plastic repair. These techniques and skills will help Conor go on to thrive in the industry once his competition training is over.
"One of the best elements of Conor’s training programme is the opportunity to visit other countries and learn from their car painting experts," says Rich. "This often involves taking part in smaller international skills competitions. Recently, we visited Germany for the SATA Challenge – six countries competed, demonstrating the highest levels of car painting skills. I was thrilled that Conor came away from the competition with a silver medal. These experiences are invaluable in helping competitors get to grips with the pressures of competition, as well as helping them learn from the world’s best young car painters."
Working with WorldSkills UK, Rich uses international best practice to shape the curriculum at Coleg Gwent in Newport, Wales, where he works – as well as ensuring the Welsh skills system reflects global high standards.