A young Scottish decorator is hoping to secure the title of the world’s best young painter and decorator after being selected to represent the UK at WorldSkills.

Rachel Terras is now gearing-up to compete in front of over 150,000 spectators at the event, the world’s largest vocational skills contest, taking place in London in October.

The 22-year-old, who lives in Galashiels, will be the UK’s painting and decorating representative as she takes up her role in the 43-strong UK team for the contest.

Often referred to as the ‘Skills Olympics,’ the final line-up for Team UK was announced by Skills Minister John Hayes.

Rachel who is coming to the end of her studies at Borders College was encouraged by tutor Barbara Hastie to enter skills competitions at an early stage, and is a veteran of the Crown Trade Apprentice Decorator of the Year Competition, where her outstanding performances led to her being invited to try for a place on the WorldSkills London 2011 UK Squad.

Scotland is proving a hotbed for young painting and decorating talent, with Rachel hoping to follow in the footsteps of the current WorldSkills winner, Mark Nevin, from East Calder.

Rachel said: “I’m absolutely over the moon to have got through, and to have got my place in the UK team. It’s good to know that all the hard work and effort I put into the training and assessment process has finally paid off. I can’t tell you how happy my mum was when I told her the news that I was going to compete at WorldSkills and how proud all my family and my boyfriend are of me.”

Rachel’s bosses at McMillan Hotels are also very pleased with their apprentice’s achievements. A representative of the McMillan family said “We’re delighted that Rachel, one of our team of decorators at Peebles Hydro Hotel, will be representing the UK at WorldSkills.

“Rachel is the kind of enthusiastic and hardworking young employee that every company hopes to find, and she is a great example of how skill and determination can lead to success in any field. As a hotel company, we employ many young people – often we are their first employer. It is always very rewarding to see them make a success of themselves through their own hard work and effort. We wish Rachel every success in the competition and will continue to support her in every way we can.”

Crown Paints is the presenting sponsor of the painting and decorating competition at WorldSkills.

Kevin O’Donnell, Crown Paints’ national product trainer and competition manager, has seen at close hand how Rachel has progressed since entering her first Crown Trade regional competition.

Kevin said: “Our focus is now on Rachel and we are all hoping she will follow in the footsteps of fellow Scot Mark Nevin from East Calder who, after winning Crown Trade’s national competition back in 2005, eventually went on to be selected for the WorldSkills 2009 in Calgary.

“Mark put in a phenomenal performance and brought a gold medal and a ‘Best in Nation’ award back to Scotland. We wish Rachel the very best of luck and hope she can do the same in London this autumn.”