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Jimmy puts WorldSkills hopefuls through their paces

9 November 2021
An Air Engineering instructor from HMS Sultan has been putting the UK’s top Air Engineering apprentices through their paces for WorldSkills UK.

James ‘Jimmy’ Callaghan, first got involved with the WorldSkills UK squad during an apprenticeship visit to HMS Sultan in 2014. He has since been involved with supporting numerous events throughout the UK, including helping apprentices prepare for WorldSkills international competition, with RAF apprentice Senior Aircraftman, Shayne Hadland MBE awarded Silver in Aircraft Maintenance in Sao Paulo, 2015. 

Jimmy was invited to become a second judge at the national competition in 2016, by then Worldskills Expert, Aircraft Maintenance, Mr Martin Yates MBE, helping to design a test project, and then become a lead judge at nationals. In 2019 Jimmy was appointed assistant training manager, with RAF Cadet Aircraft engineering student Haydn Jakes MBE going on to claim gold in Kazan 2019. Then after Martin’s retirement, last year, Jimmy was appointed WorldSkills UK expert in February this year.

Jimmy said: “I’ve always been competitive, so the concept that you could combine that aircraft engineering meant I had to be involved in.

“Martin’s passion for excellence was also infectious, his drive and encouragement for you to be the best you could be inspired the both staff and apprentices around him. He taught me so much and I hope to be able to carry on the good work in inspiring the next generation of competitors.

“Apprentices gain so much from the experience, receiving training from some of the UK’s leading providers. Aircraft engineering is not a skill that this comes easily, but all our squad members have gone on to achieve within our industry.

HMS Sultan have and continue to be a great supporter of our training programmes, not just in terms of facilities and access to training equipment, but also their expertise.

James ‘Jimmy’ Callaghan

“HMS Sultan have and continue to be a great supporter of our training programmes, not just in terms of facilities and access to training equipment, but also their expertise.”

Apprentice Senior aircraftman Ewan Payne from RAF Benson was recently involved in a week of training at HMS Sultan. On an 18-month programme, he is currently honing his skills in the hope of being selected as the WorldSkills UK representative for Shanghai in October 2022.

Ewan said: “Jimmy is a fantastic coach and knows avionics through and through. Coming from a mechanical background, he is just the person that I need to be coaching me.

This week has been very informative; it’s helped me to brush up on skills which I haven’t used quite so much during the pandemic and brought me back up to competition standard.”

The National WorldSkills UK Air Engineering finals will take place at HMS Sultan between 17th– 19th November 2021. The competition normally takes place at the NEC alongside other apprenticeship competition but was moved to training hubs due to the pandemic for 2021, with a planned return to the big event in 2022.

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