A WEE COUNTY painter and decorator has officially achieved world-class status after competing at the Olympics of trade.

Team UK – the UK's top young students and apprentices, which included Tullibody's Callum Bonner – flew home from Russia covered in gold and glory recently.

The 37 women and men, the best in their nations, won a total of 19 medals including two gold, one silver and one bronze medal and 15 medallions of excellence (achieving world class standard) at the "skills Olympics" from August 22-27.

The impressive results represent an amazing success for WorldSkills UK, which selects and trains the team and works to mainstream excellence in education and industry.

Callum, a painter and decorator with Clackmannanshire Council, recently completed his modern apprenticeship through Forth Valley College and was one of the 15 Team UK competitors who won the coveted Medallions of Excellence which means they are officially of world class standard.

Callum said: "My journey has been phenomenal and I have enjoyed every bit of it.

"It is a great feeling going through the four years of a MA and now having a trade behind me for my whole life, is a great feeling. I am mega proud of my achievements. I have won every award ceremony I have been to and it has been a great couple of years.

"The facilities and lecturing staff at Forth Valley College are great and led me on to do things that I didn't know were possible, such as representing my country In the Euroskills competition in Budapest, Hungry and leading me onto win awards ranging from regional to national level.

"Forth Valley College has led me to get a tradesman job within the council and the best bit for me was being on that big stage in Budapest representing the UK."

Graeme Williamson, a lecturer in the painting and decorating department, said: "The Painting and Decorating Department and the whole college are extremely proud of Callum and his achievements. He has worked so hard over the last two years to get to Russia.

"We had plenty of late nights in the workshop doing extra practice, and he has been all over the world during his training. He is an inspiration to all that follow him."

The event, the 45th WorldSkills Finals, which takes place every two years, is considered to be the ultimate litmus test to compare countries' readiness to compete economically.