A PEEBLESSHIRE painter and decorator is officially one of the best in the world.

Jordan Charters has come home from the 44th WorldSkills Olympics in Abu Dhabi with a Medallion of Excellence.

And if it hadn't been for a rule change in the fifth and final discipline, the 22-year-old would have been on the podium.

Jordan, who works for his father's business out of Dolphinton, beat off stiff competition to claim his place in the UK team.

After finishing either first or second in the wallpapering, door decorating, free technique and speed mural disciplines he was in gold contention at the WorldSkills Finals.

But after making an encouraging start to his freehand design of the Adu Dhabi skyline, judges informed the former international athlete that knife cutting wasn't allowed - forcing Jordan back to the drawing board.

He told us: "I was sitting in the medals at the time and I was doing well with my light cutting of the design, but I was told I had to redo it again using only pencil.

"I have been trained using the knife and that's the way I've always done my freehand designs.

"It was a terrible setback and, in the end, cost me a place in the top three.

"The judges measured our lines with lasers and they were inspecting every surface for the tiniest little grain of sand - it was unbelievably tough.

"Looking back, though, I'm not disappointed.

"It was a fantastic experience and one that I won't forget in a hurry."

The three decorators who finished above Jordan were all 'best in country' having accumulated their country's highest scores in any of the competitions.

And the eventual winner from Austria broke the WorldSkills record.

Jordan added: "I was competing for four days - and they were long days.

"It was one of the hardest weeks of my life as you couldn't switch off at night - when you weren't competing you were thinking about what you had done and what you still had to do.

"It was tougher that international athletics.

"When the competition was over we all went out and enjoyed ourselves - every one of us deserved some down time."

More than 1,200 young people from 77 nations competed in 51 different skills from hairdressing to aircraft maintenance and plumbing to 3D Games design over four frantic days for gold, silver and bronze medals.

Team UK was the smallest team to make it into the top ten, picking up no less than 20 medals - one gold, three silver, three bronze and 13 medallions of excellence.

The tough competition was flanked by spectacular opening and closing ceremonies in front of around 15,000 people at the ad Du Arena.

Dr Neil Bentley, CEO of WorldSkills UK was delighted with the standard displayed by his team.

He said: “Let the bells ring out, let the flags fly – these young people have done the nation proud.

“If we celebrate Team UK’s success and use it to inspire others to follow in their footsteps - the future of the UK is in safe hands. “

Jordan and the other 33 member of the UK team fought through regional heats and a national final to gain selection.

And they then underwent around six months of training to prepare for Abu Abu Dhabi.

Minister for Apprenticeships & Skills, Anne Milton MP, visited the competition to support the UK team.

She said: "I have been blown away by Team UK.

"They have done fantastically well – this is the UK competing on the World stage for skills and achieving great things.

"There will be huge celebrations when they come home. To get to this level is brilliant.

“There is a message here for parents – university is not the only option – the opportunities are boundless if they overcome any bias that they might have. We must ensure that the young apprentices here become an inspiration to others.

“WorldSkills UK is doing a fantastic job supporting these young people – with thousands of hours of input. We need to put all that they are doing - the ethos of this competition, the spirit of these apprentices- into a bottle and sprinkle it across the UK.”

Jordan arrived back in the UK on Sunday, making it home to the Borders on Monday and returning to work on Tuesday.

Team UK is supported by WorldSkills UK, which has pioneered radical methods to bring young apprentices to international standards.

Techniques and methodology from elite sports training have been honed to help produce the very best exponents of dozens of disciplines and trades.

Pictures can be downloaded at:



+44 7785 392735 dan@dkpr.co.uk www.worldskillsuk.org