Outstanding talent from the next generation of painting and decorating professionals was on display at the recent Crown Trade Apprentice Decorator of the Year Competition.
The prestigious competition, held at Birmingham’s NEC as part of the national Skills Show, showcased the skills excellence of eight regional finalists vying for the title as well as promoting careers in the industry to more than 80,000 people who visited the three-day event from November 16-18.
Bury St Edmunds student, Thomas Pawlowski, 18, scooped the Crown Trade Apprentice Decorator title, taking home the gold medal, £1,000 prize money and the chance to represent the industry on the international stage as part of Team UK in EuroSkills 2018 and WorldSkills 2019.
The student at West Suffolk College is in his final year of a City and Guilds qualification and took the title after impressing the judges with his range of skills in measuring, painting, wallpapering and intricate techniques during the 19-hour competition.
Said Tom: “I didn’t know what to expect because I was the only finalist who was a student, the others were all employed and had a lot more experience than me.
“I am the only one of my friends who chose a practical skills course. I went along to my local college and had always liked creative subjects and just really liked the sound of the Painting and Decorating course.
“It was brilliant to win and I am really hoping to go on to the Euro and WorldSkills competitions now. I’m not sure how I’ll spend the money, but I’m thinking about investing in some really nice brushes and tools.”
Looking to the future, Tom says he’s considering furthering his studies at university with an Interior Design course and he eventually hopes to set up his own business.
Runners-up in the competition were silver medallist Patrick Dinham, who works for Sissons Decorators in Penrith, and attends Newcastle College, and bronze medallist Philip Orme who attends City College, Plymouth. They won £500 and £250 prize money respectively.
The Crown Trade Apprentice Decorator of the Year competition, run in association with the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), aims to promote careers in the industry and encourage the next generation of painters and decorators. Each year it attracts hundreds of entrants from across the UK.