Royal Navy Engineer crowned top apprentice

A Royal Navy engineer from Manchester has been crowned one of the country’s top apprentices after winning a gold medal at the UK’s largest skills, apprenticeship and careers event.

Leading Airman Engineer Technician (LAET) Ben Welsby was awarded the prestigious prize in Mechanical Engineering in the field of Aeronautics. 

A panel of expert judges voted him top of his category after he completed a series of demanding challenges at the World Skills UK event in Birmingham on November 23.

Ben, who is currently serving at Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Yeovilton with 825 Naval Air Squadron, beat the best apprentices from around the country to win the prize.

I am excited to see what the future holds for my career as an aircraft engineer and where it might take me

Leading Airman Engineer Technician Ben Welsby

“Achieving this is something I am very proud of,” said Ben.  “I take pride in my work and the experiences I have gained in the competition can follow me into my future as an Aircraft engineer.”

Joining the Royal Navy in 2015, Ben has been studying Mechanical Engineering for the last four years with the Royal Navy.  His job at RNAS Yeovilton sees him work alongside some of the best aeronautical engineers in the world, maintaining and servicing aircraft at the site.

The former St Mary’s Catholic High School pupil, who still lives in Manchester, will be joining his new squadron – 847 NAS – in the New Year as a supervisor, putting what he has learned during training into full effect.

He continued: “I am excited to see what the future holds for my career as an aircraft engineer and where it might take me, but all I can do at the moment is gather the experience needed to maintain the right standards within my job.”

World Skills UK, at the NEC Birmingham, attracted some 80,000 young people seeking a vocational pathway to work.

One of the highlights of the three-day event was the National Finals of World Skills UK’s Competitions.  More than 500 apprentices and students competed in over 70 different disciplines to establish who were the best in the country.  Winners will be considered for the UK squad for the World Skills Shanghai in 2021 where students from around the globe will compete.

Commodore Andy Cree, Assistant Chief of Staff Training for the Royal Navy, said: “I am delighted that Leading Aircraft Engineering Technician Welsby has won Gold in such a competitive and highly-skilled category.

“The Royal Navy’s involvement in important national and international events such as World Skills provides a benchmark to shape the training and careers on offer in a highly capable and technologically advanced Service.”

During the World Skills event in Birmingham the Royal Navy team hosted tens of thousands of young visitors.  The navy’s display included Virtual Reality simulators replicating life on board a submarine, a Royal Marine physical fitness challenge, a Lynx helicopter, members of the Royal Marines Band, a culinary demonstration and plenty of information on apprenticeships. 

Personnel were also available throughout to provide expert advice to young visitors and parents alike. 

There were also several “Spotlight” talks with naval personnel – including Leading Engineer Technician Emily Rose from the Submarine Service, Petty Officer Jimmy Clements from HMS Diamond, and Marine Lewis Mottashed from the Royal Marines Commando Recruitment Team.