A group of elite air engineering apprentices from around the globe visited HMS Sultan recently to help prepare them as they bid to be crowned champions at WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017.

Hosted by the Defence College of Technical Training’s Royal Naval Air Engineering and Survival Equipment School, contestants in the Aircraft Maintenance specialisation from Brazil, Finland and Saudi Arabia joined the United Kingdom’s (UK) own entry in order to complete potential test scenarios.

Having already competed in a number of regional and national selection events, the apprentices will be the sole representatives from their industry at the WordSkills finals in October. The competition is the World’s largest skills competition with a total of 51 different specialisations and 77 nations represented show casing their industries.

Mr Martin Yates, WorldSkills Expert, Aircraft Maintenance said: “This is an excellent facility that we have used a number of times and it is tremendously generous of the Royal Navy to let us use this facility, it’s absolutely fantastic.” 

”Having a group of competitors like this together has been wonderful; the exchange of ideas between them has been really positive and made it very inclusive. All of the engineers here are from a mechanical background and are very enthusiastic and hardworking. They are sure to do their countries proud in the competition.” 

Airbus Aircraft Fitter Joseph Massey will be part of Team UK at this year’s competition.  Team UK is managed by WorldSkills UK, which is responsible for training and developing the UK competitors for the WorldSkills Competition. He will be hoping to emulate the success of RAF apprentice Senior Aircraftman, Shayne Hadland who achieved Silver in within Aircraft Maintenance in 2015 and was awarded an MBE in the last New Year’s Honours. Joseph said: “I’ve been working in the industry for about four and a half years now. I always knew I wanted to do an apprenticeship and that I didn’t want to go to University. I’ve always loved engineering, but I thought Aircraft were something a bit different and I enjoy it a lot.”

“I’ve travelled lots and had lots of opportunities with WorldSkills UK. This is my forth time at Sultan and the facilities are great. I first came through UK Squad selection and have been back twice for training. There’s only two places in the UK we can practice the hand skills required and that’s Sultan and at Cosford.”

“It’s been good to work with the other competitors and we’ve all been getting along well. We all want to win so it will be interesting to see how we all fare in October.”

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