A JUNIOR welding ace from East Lancashire could be bound for Shanghai after triumphing in a national skills forum.

Kieran McShane has joined the UK squad for the international WorldSkills competition, being staged in the ancient Chinese city next year.

The 17-year-old from Accrington, who works for the WEC Group in Darwen, impressed judges with his metalwork construction prowess during the national finals at the NEC in Birmingham.

Ben Blackledge, deputy chief executive of WorldSkills UK, described the trip as a "life-changing moment" for the teenager.

He will now be embarking on an 18-month training programme with the team, supported by his mentors at Burnley College, ahead of potential selection for the Chinese odyssey.

Kris Mercer, WEC's training and development manager, said: "We are immensely proud of Kieran for his performance and determination in the national finals.

"He has a natural talent and flair for metalwork and securing his place on the Road to Shanghai will provide him with a rare experience and opportunity to boost his career prospects and confidence."

Neil Burrows, director at his training partner Themis, at Burnley College, added: " His success in this renowned international contest is testament to his skills, commitment and determination to be the very best – all attributes we look for in Themis apprentices."

Kieran is following in the footsteps of fellow WEC apprentice Tyler Atkinson, who competed at the WorldSkills event in Kazan, Russia, last year.