Andrew knew from the start that he would need to work hard to stand any chance of success in Helsinki. “There’s no doubt it was very time consuming and it took up a great deal of my free time getting ready for the event. I don’t think you can expect to take part in an international competition and not put the hours in. On the plus side it was very interesting and enjoyable experience which I was very fortunate to have been involed in. It was also a tremendous life experience and soI learnt far more than just how to do my job better.”

What was WorldSkills like?
“It was incredible. There was an awful lot of pressure but at the same time it was really enjoyable. The sheer size of the place was what really stunned me. I had heard all about it but it was only when I got there that I could appreciate just what a huge event this was and how many people were involved.”

How did you cope with the pressure?
“I went with the attitude that I was going to do what I did every day at work as well as I could and if someone was better than me fine, but at least I knew I had done my absolute best. Having this approach helped me as I felt that it took the pressure off. There was a time when I made a mistake but I told myself to sort it out, it wasn’t the end of the world. I didn’t focus on what the other competitors were doing either which also helped my concentration.”

So does Andrew feel that winning Gold at WorldSkills has given him any benefits?
“Absolutely, Succeeding at WorldSkills has given a big boost to my career and put me ahead of others. Sadly, the company I was working for at the time closed down and while a lot of my colleagues were out of work and looking for jobs I had people phoning me and offering me work because they knew about my success at the competition.”

What is Andrew doing now?
Since winning his Gold medal in 2005, Andrew has gone from strenth to strength. With solid training behind him and an enviable reputation, Andrew has quickly progressed in his career and has worked for some of the bigger bodyshops in Belfast, before joining the family business in 2010. His aspirations don’t end there however and he continues to set himself new goals.

Andrew has since been awarded “Bodyshop Magazine Outstanding Achievement 2005/2006” and was one of the first in Northern Ireland to achieve the Institute of the motor industry’s “Senior panel technician” in the Automotive Technician” Accreditation Scheme.