Top decorating apprentices ready to contest national title

September 27th, 2016

The names have been revealed of the talented apprentices who’ll battle it out to be crowned best painter and decorator in the country. The annual Crown Trade Apprentice Decorator of the Year competition promotes emerging talent by acting as a showcase for skills.

Heats are held throughout the UK and eight students have now emerged to compete for the national title and a £1,000 first prize. The three-day event will take place at The Skills Show, one of the biggest events in the painting and decorating calendar, to be held at the NEC in Birmingham on November 17-19.

Three of the finalists will know precisely what to expect as they’ll be making their second successive appearance on the big stage. Stefan Hubble, Ryan Chamberlain and Amanda Conner narrowly missed out in last year’s final which was won by Ben Deer, from Dorset.

But the final will be a first for Jessica Heath, Philip Orme, Patrick Dinham, Ayla Foulis and Lewys Rawlings who make up the final eight. 

The heats

Competitors in each regional heat were challenged to complete three complex tasks designed to test the quality of their technique and time management.

Kevin O’Donnell, Product Trainer at Crown Paints and Crown Trade Apprentice Decorator of the Year Competition Manager, said: “This year’s project created a true test of skills, time management and ability to work under pressure. It required a great deal of skill and the expertise of those who have made the final really shone through. They’ll need to reproduce that great work and more to win the title because the quality of the competition has been very high and there’ll be some excellent talent on show.”

The main event

‘The finalists will need all of their powers of concentration for the final’

Kevin O'Donnell
Crown Paints

The Skills Show is an influential training and careers event featuring more than 50 trade-based competitions in which the ‘best of the best’ in each sector battle for the national title.

The annual event, which attracted almost 80,000 visitors last year, is also the route to the acclaimed ‘Skills Olympics’ – Worldskills - which takes place every two years. 

For apprentices at the start of their career, the pressure is immense as they’ll be in the spotlight for three days and undertaking an even more complex project which must be completed in 19 hours.

The future of the industry

Crown Paints understand the importance of investing in and developing the next generation of industry professionals and their commitment to this competition for more than 37 years is testament of that. 

Debbie Orr, Marketing Manager for Crown Paints’ trade brands, said: “The competition touches the lives of hundreds of apprentices at the start of their careers, encourages them to strive for excellence in their craft and reach the highest professional standards. It’s a crucial contest to win in the industry as it is the only competition associated with a national body, the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB). 

“It’s hugely rewarding to see competitors start out on a journey which will end up with one of them being officially named the best painter and decorator in the UK at The Skills Show.”

The contest is also a key part of Crown Paints ongoing programme to help address the skills gap, which will be a major focus for the sector over the coming years.