A PAINTING and decorating modern apprentice (MA) from Tullibody has become the first Forth Valley College student to make the UK WorldSkills squad.

Third year Callum Bonner competed with eight others at the prestigious SkillBuild Show, at Birmingham’s NEC from November 16-18.

The 19-year-old just missed out on a top three place, but has impressed judges so much that he has been invited onto the UK WorldSkills training squad.

Over the next 18 months Callum – an MA with Clackmannanshire Council – will take part in special training sessions in England with other MAs to see if he can win selection to the UK team for the WorldSkills finals to be held in Kazan, Russia in 2019.

Jordan Charters, a former WorldSkills finalist, helped Forth Valley College painting and decorating contenders to brush up on their skills recently and Callum thinks his tips may well have inspired him to impress at the NEC event.

He said: "It was a great experience to compete at the SkillBuild event at Birmingham and it could well be that Jordan inspired me to put in a good performance.

"Being selected for the UK squad is great, even though I did not place. I am now going to put in the work to make sure I am the best I can be and try to get selected for the world skills event in Russia.”

Kevin Bonner, painting and decorating lecturer in the Department of Construction at Forth Valley College, shared his praise.

He said: “We are all very proud of Callum and for him to make the UK squad for the World Skills is an excellent result.

"As far as I know he is the first Forth Valley College MA to reach this level and he will no doubt become an inspiration for other to follow."