AN RAF aircraft engineer from Oxfordshire will be flying the flag for the UK at an international skills competition in November.

Ewan Payne, 26, who is based at RAF Benson, will be going for gold in the international Aircraft Maintenance final in Cardiff from November 1 to November 4.

The fully qualified sky diver will be going up against people from 11 other countries.

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Mr Payne, who has served in USA, France and the Middle East, said: “The RAF has been brilliant to me and for me and given me the opportunity to do so many things in life that I wouldn’t otherwise have experienced.

“I am very competitive in nature. Everything that I do I not only want to do well – but I want to be the best.

“I am very patriotic and WorldSkills UK is playing a vital role ensuring that we are fully prepared to take on the best of the rest of the world by incorporating international best practice in everything we do.”

 Mr Payne is following in the footsteps of Hadyn Jakes who brought home the gold medal for Team UK at the last championships in Kazan in 2019.

Since competing in 2019, Mr Jakes returned to his studies at the University of Nottingham and was awarded an MBE in 2020.

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He is now also part of the WorldSkills UK training team and is working with Mr Payne in preparation for November’s final.

Mr Jakes said “It was very exciting to be competing on such a huge international stage. It was an incredible experience that I will never forget and has boosted my career in unimaginable ways.

“You learn and gain so much from competing and going through the WorldSkills UK programmes.

 “I am now training the UK Team and can’t wait to pass on what I learned to help this next generation of skilled professionals make their impact on the world stage.

“It is like nothing you have experienced before and, as well as demonstrating you have the technical skills, you have to be able to keep focus and perform under pressure.”

It will be the first time that the UK has hosted international competition since London welcomed the world to the ‘skills olympics’ in 2011.

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The competitions are part of the WorldSkills Competition 2022 Special Edition, where 61 finals will take place in 15 countries with over 1,000 competitors.

WorldSkills UK CEO Neil Bentley-Gockmann said: “The WorldSkills Competition 2022 Special Edition is a fantastic opportunity for the UK to demonstrate our world-class talent against the best of the rest of the world.”


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This story was written by Gee Harland. She joined the team in 2022 as a senior multimedia reporter.

Gee covers Wallingford, Wantage and Didcot.

Get in touch with her by emailing:

Follow her on Twitter @Geeharland

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