A talented automotive student from North Tyneside has made it to the finals of an international competition designed to showcase the skills of young people on the world stage.

Callum Green will be part of a UK team competing in the auto refinishing category at the 45th WorldSkills Championships, which takes place in Kazan, Russia from August 29 to September 3, 2019.

The accolade marks a notable milestone in the fledgling career of Gateshead College student Callum, who plies his trade at ChipsAway’s North Tyneside car care centre and has just completed an NVQ Level 3 in Motor Vehicle Body Repair and Paint Refinishing – a key component of his apprenticeship.

During the course, college tutors and ChipsAway boss Garry Charlton realised Callum’s talent and put him forward for WorldSkills, which will see participants from more than 70 countries compete in around 50 different disciplines, from construction and building technology to creative arts.

The 20-year-old made it through several qualifying rounds, impressing in the regional finals before winning a silver medal in the WorldSkills UK finals at the NEC in Birmingham – an achievement which led to his call-up for the Squad UK team that will compete in Russia.

At the national finals, he impressed judges in a series of challenges designed to test his theoretical knowledge and practical skills. Set across three days, the challenges covered the key elements of auto refinishing, including prepping and painting panels, repair work, masking, colour matching and the application of specialist finishes.

Callum will now undergo around 25 days of technical skills training and assessments over the coming months. He will also join other Squad UK members at two boot camps designed to test participants’ knowledge and practical skills, with the first taking place at Loughborough University on April 14 and 15.

Callum said: “Now I’ve got the chance to test myself against the world’s best in Russia. It’s an unbelievable opportunity that would never have come about had I not been on the apprenticeship programme.”

Callum, whose interest in cars stemmed from watching vehicle make-over programmes on television, left school at 16 after excelling in practical subjects such as metalwork and woodwork. He approached ChipsAway for a job and was advised by Garry Charlton to enrol on an apprenticeship at Gateshead College.

Over the course of the next three years, he combined study at the college’s Skills Academy for Automotive, Engineering, Manufacturing and Logistics in Team Valley with practical, on-the-job work experience at ChipsAway’s North Tyneside franchise.

Garry, who took over the management of the franchise in 2005, said:

“I’ve always favoured the apprenticeship route and the partnership with Gateshead College has been a huge benefit to my business, particularly as automotive is one of the organisation’s key sector specialisms. Callum’s success in the business persuaded me to approach Gateshead College for a second time and hire another talented apprentice, Joseph Richardson.

“Their enthusiasm, resilience and ability to adapt to the changing needs of a small business is what makes them so valuable. I’ve been able to give them more responsibility on the shop floor, which has allowed me to spend more time promoting the business and winning new customers.”

Ivan Jepson, director of business development at Gateshead College, said:

“Apprenticeships are a great way of helping company owners grow their business through the development of new skills and ideas. Garry has seen his business evolve since taking on Callum and Joseph and, in turn, ChipsAway has provided them with an exciting career path in the automotive industry.

“Through our apprenticeship programmes, we provide unique opportunities for our students to demonstrate their skills. The WorldSkills competition allows Callum to compete against the best in the industry and both Gateshead College and ChipsAway will support him in his preparation for Russia.”

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