A DECORATING apprentice from the Borders has been selected for Team UK at this year's skills Olympics in the United Arab Emirates.

Athlete Jordan Charters is more accustomed to competing for Scotland at the long jump.

But the 20-year-old from Dolphinton, who works for his father painting and decorating firm, has been selected for the forthcoming WorldSkills finals in Abu Dhabi.

After a two-year qualification battle against the UK’s most-skilled apprentices, the Edinburgh College student secured a place as part of the 31-strong Team UK.

Jordan admits the finals will be a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity”.

He told us: “I said I wouldn’t cry if I made Team UK but I couldn’t help it.

“All the hard work that I put in has paid off. It has made it worthwhile.”

Team UK will compete against 75 other countries in more than 50 different skills at the finals - from aircraft maintenance and mechanical engineering to restaurant service and cyber security.

Jordan and his teammates will now go through an Olympic-style training regime in preparation for an intense week of competition as Team UK attempts to beat their seventh-place finish at the 2015 WorldSkills in Brazil.

Edinburgh College graduate, and 2009 WorldSkills Painting and Decorating gold medallist, Mark Nevin is Jordan’s mentor ahead of the Worldskills finals.

Mark studied at the college in 2003 and competed at WorldSkills Calgary in 2009 in the Painting and Decorating category.

He secured the gold medal and the highest individual score for the UK team.

Peter Walters, a WorldSkills training manager, is also working with Jordan ahead of the Abu Dhabi competition in October.

Robert Taylor, painting and decorating lecturer at Edinburgh College, said: “Our thanks go out to Peter Walters and former winner Mark Nevin for mentoring Jordan.

"Jordan is one of the select students we have had over the last ten years with that extra ability to reach world-class level.

“There is no doubt that at this level the competition is virtually as big as the Olympics with all the preparation, practice and motivation required to secure a medal.

“We have numerous competition winners nationally but to be successful at this level you have to be able to solve problems quickly, think on your feet and complete tasks to the highest level of quality.

“Now Jordan has qualified, the preparation for competition will continue but focus as much on the mental preparation of coping with pressure and planning."