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Team UK
Manufacturing Team Challenge
Aircraft Maintenance
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Gold Medallist

27 August 2019, a date that Haydn, an Aerosystems Engineering Officer in the Royal Air Force (RAF) will never forget. On that day, he was named the best young aeronautical engineer in the world at the closing ceremony of WorldSkills Kazan 2019. He received his gold medal in torrential rain in front of an audience of nearly 35,000 people at the Kazan Stadium.

“My name was the last to be called out and I remember just dropping to my knees as I couldn’t believe that I had won the gold medal. That night was the culmination of my WorldSkills UK training, three years of hard work, total focus and pushing myself to be the very best I could be, but it was all worth it.”

Haydn’s journey to being world-class started when he joined Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group (Marshall ADG) as an airframe and propulsion apprentice. Harbouring a childhood ambition to be a pilot, Haydn decided to begin his career with a vocational route. As part of his apprenticeship, he completed the Pearson BTEC Level 3 in Aeronautical Engineering at Bedford College.

“My apprenticeship and BTEC gave me a solid skills base and the technical expertise on which I have built my career. If I had to do it again, I would always choose that route. It also really helped me in my degree in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Nottingham. I found I was much further ahead because of my real-life industry knowledge and skills.”

Marshall ADG use WorldSkills UK Competitions to support the training of its apprentices and while Haydn was with them, he won the silver medal in the WorldSkills UK National Finals in Aircraft Maintenance in 2017. He was then invited to join WorldSkills UK’s international training programme for WorldSkills Kazan 2019. Haydn’s training was led by WorldSkills UK Training Manager Martin Yates MBE and involved high level technical and mindset training. Following the completion of his apprenticeship, Marshall ADG continued to support Haydn in his WorldSkills UK training, with access to their experts and mentors and time in the hangars to hone his skills.

“From the world-class training in aircraft maintenance, networking with peers around the world and learning strategies for coping with the pressures of competition, the training I competed with WorldSkills UK has been vital for my career development. I learnt how to apply my skills strategically and now I’m using them in my role as an Engineering Officer with the Royal Air Force.”

Haydn at his graduation

In recognition of his amazing achievements at WorldSkills Kazan 2019, Haydn was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the Queen’s Birthday List in 2020.

“Receiving my MBE was an incredible honour. It feels like further accreditation for the achievements in the WorldSkills Competition and recognition for all the effort it took to get there. I really hope it inspires others to get involved with WorldSkills UK.”

Haydn is now focusing on his career with the Royal Air Force which will see him lead and manage teams of highly skilled technicians who maintain and repair high-tech equipment to support operations in the air. He also continues to support WorldSkills UK, working with James Callaghan, the Training Manager for Aircraft Maintenace on preparations for the UK’s participation in WorldSkills Lyon 2024.

Inspired by Haydn’s story? In the lead up to #WorldSkillsLyon2024 WorldSkills UK, together with Pearson, is celebrating the career success of past Team UK members, showcasing how apprenticeships and technical education can lead to success in work and life.

Find out how the WorldSkills UK Learning Lab can support apprentices and learners.

Find out more about Pearson’s qualifications

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