The countdown is on for former painting and decorating apprentice Jordan Charters as he completed his final training session at Edinburgh College before flying off to compete against the planet’s best in the World Skills 2017 finals in Abu Dhabi.
Jordan will compete on 15-18 October at Worldskills as part of the 32-strong Team UK. He is one of just two Scots in the team and will take on the world’s top competitors in what is known as the ‘skill Olympics.
Jordan, who studied at Edinburgh College, was put through one last rigorous week of training at the college’s Granton Campus. Training on a specially constructed rig at the campus, Jordan was put through his paces, getting used to working in a public environment similar to what he’ll face in Abu Dhabi.
Jordan has been mentored by Edinburgh College graduate Mark Nevin – who won the Painting and Decorating gold medal at WorldSkills 2009 – and WorldSkills Team UK training manager Peter Walters.
At the World Skills final Jordan will need to complete several tasks, each testing a different aspect of his painting and decorating skills
Jordan, who works for his dad’s painting and decorating firm and has a string of skills awards under his belt, will join another 31 of the country’s best talent in the competition. Team UK will compete against 75 other countries in more than 50 different skills, from aircraft maintenance and mechanical engineering to restaurant service and cyber security.
For the last two years, Jordan, who is also an international-level long jumper, has had to fit training around work and college commitments. This included dedicating 15 weeks to full time training.
Jordan and his teammates have been through an Olympic-style training regime in preparation for an intense week of competition as Team UK will attempt to top their seventh-place finish at the 2015 WorldSkills in Sao Paulo.
Jordan said: “When I go out to Abu Dhabi I’m not treating it like a holiday and I’m not there to make up the numbers. I’m there for one purpose and that’s to win. That’s been my mind set in the build-up. I’ve devoted so much time to training over the past two years and I’m not leaving any stone unturned. Once it’s over I’ll take anything I’m given and I’ll do the best I can but my sole purpose is to try and get that gold medal.”
Peter Walters, WorldSkills Painting and Decorating Expert and Team UK Training Manager, said: “This is Jordan’s penultimate week before heading out to competition and the idea of getting him working in a public area is to try and simulate the crowds out at the competition, which can be up to 200,000 people. We’re thankful for the college for letting us use this facility and grateful to many others for the support we’ve received.
“Jordan wouldn’t be as far in the process if he wasn’t good enough to do well to begin with. Once he was selected it was just about minor tweaks to bring him up that final five percent and to fine tune minor aspects of his work. When he’s out there it’s all about focusing on his own bay and his own work and not letting himself get distracted by other competitors and I wish him the best of luck.”
WorldSkills runs from 14-19 October 2017 in a specially created facility in Abu Dhabi. Check the WorldSkills website for more on the competition.