Sam Forbes and Leo Tweed topped the national rankings at the 2023 WorldSkills UK finals last week, demonstrating once again that Marshall’s apprentices are among the best in the business.
In the highly competitive Aircraft Maintenance category, Sam took home the gold medal and Leo received a Highly Commended award.
Both Sam and Leo work within Marshall Aerospace as aircraft fitter apprentices, having joined as part of the 2020 intake. While this was Sam’s first year at WorldSkills, Leo was taking part for the second time.
Both were encouraged to sign up by Aerospace Apprenticeships Manager Georgie Scott-Wilds, who organised their participation throughout the process, starting with the initial rounds held in June in North East Wales, training at HMS Sultan and—of course—last week’s finals in Manchester.
In the UK finals, contestants had to complete seven gruelling exercises over three long days. Each test took up to three hours under strict scrutiny and supervision from judges.
- Manufacturing an electrical loom and terminations inside a helicopter tail rotor
- Completing a hydraulic circuit design
- Carrying out a helicopter pre-flight airworthiness check and subsequent defect rectification
- Conducting an engine inspection with a borescope, identifying and assessing any damage
- Completing a skin repair requiring the manufacture of multiple flat items
- Replacement of an airframe component under restricted access conditions
- Design and manufacture of a composite repair
“I signed up for WorldSkills UK because I wanted to do something beyond the scope of my normal work,” explained Sam. The experience has been a lot of fun from start to finish, and I’m grateful to the organisers for giving us all such a great experience!”
“It was great to represent Marshall this year, competing alongside Sam against so many competitors from all over the UK,” commented Leo.
“Thankfully we had Georgie on our side, bringing down any tension from the competition and getting us to wherever we needed to be.
“I’m also extremely grateful for all the support and tutoring the Mint team have given me.”
Sam and Leo’s performance builds on Marshall’s legacy of success at WorldSkills: apprentices representing the company have placed in the top three in their category four times in the last five years. In 2017, Hayden Jakes won UK silver and went on to win gold in the 2019 WorldSkills International finals. This was followed in 2021 by Jeremy Franks, who won UK gold. In 2022, Bradly Pettitt brought home a bronze medal.
“You will often hear me say how proud I am of our Marshall apprentices, and it’s examples like this that demonstrate why,” said Georgie.
“The WorldSkills competition tested everything from composite repairs to airworthiness checks, with contestants scored right down to the timings of their stage checks or their correct use of PPE.
“The feedback I received from the WorldSkills team is extraordinary; Sam and Leo did a fantastic job against some very tough competition!”