A TEENAGE apprentice has been jetting off around the globe as he prepares to test his stonemasonry skills against the world's best.

Ethan Conlon, from Burford, will take on peers from more than 60 countries at WorldSkills 2019 in the Russian city of Kazan next month.

The 18-year-old will compete in the architectural stonemasonry category after triumphing over stonemasons from across the country earlier this year.

His success comes despite the fact that he is still completing an apprenticeship at Oxford-based APS Masonry, where he works with his sister, dad and uncle.

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The latter, director Luke Conlon, revealed his nephew's rise was testament to his hard work.

He said: "It's a massive achievement. He started at college as a trainee and worked his way up.

"He's doing absolutely amazing and we're very proud.

"Ethan has always worked very hard and is obviously a very skilled mason."

The 18-year-old left Burford School in 2016 with a handful of GCSEs, but was unsure of his next steps.

He began an apprenticeship at APS Masonry, which includes a day at Bath College every week.

After impressing lecturers with his natural ability and commitment, he was selected for the college's shortlist for WorldSkills back in early 2018.

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This took Mr Conlon to a four-day competition, where he was chosen alongside two others to join the UK squad. The trio received 10 weeks of specialist training before a final selection day in York in March.

Mr Conlon outperformed his squad mates to book his place in Kazan as Team UK's only stonemason in the squad of 30.

Ahead of the competition, which takes place from August 22 to 27, the teenager has built up his experience by travelling to competitions in Russia and Brazil for final preparation.

With competitions in more than 50 categories, from bricklaying to beauty therapy, WorldSkills is the pinnacle of vocational competitions.

Started in 1950, it now takes place every two years and aims to raise the profile and recognition of skilled people in a variety of crafts.

Visit worldskills2019.com/en for more information.