An aspiring decorator from Widnes has been crowned Apprentice Decorator of the Year, after triumphing at the UK’s best-known showcase for up-and-coming talent in the industry, held recently at the SkillBuild National Finals.
Sponsored by Crown Paints for the 43rd successive year, the prestigious competition came to a head at Edinburgh College this month with a three-day event which saw eight finalists take centre stage to display their skills.
Jade Oakes, who is training at Riverside College, was awarded the top accolade for her performance in a gruelling 18-hour mural challenge, created especially for the competition by Crown Paints’ team of colour experts.
After successfully clearing a series of regional heats against over 200 entrants to win their place in the final, the budding tradespeople, who hailed from all four corners of the UK, were judged by a panel of industry experts.
Led by Kevin O’Donnell, Crown Paints’ National Painting and Decorating Trainer, the panel also included former Apprentice Decorator of the Year winners, Sandie Webster and Ben Deer.
This year’s silver medallist was Hattie Parnham, while Jacqui Hawthorne went home with the bronze.
The annual event, which is open to painting and decorating students and apprentices across the UK who have the support of a lecturer, training supervisor or employer, puts participants through their paces, using Crown Paints products to test their skills, dexterity and accuracy within a tight timescale.
Finalists not only have the opportunity to win the competition, but also to represent the UK at WorldSkills competitions across the world.
As a longstanding sponsor of the competition, Crown Paints donated thousands of pounds worth of paint and sundries for each regional heat and national final, as part of its commitment to inspiring the next generation of painters and decorators.
The Apprentice Decorator of the Year final was held as part of the SkillBuild event, delivered by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) as part of WorldSkills UK LIVE, which took place in Edinburgh from 15th-17th November.
Described as the ‘UK’s skills olympics’, SkillBuild is the largest multi-trade competition in the UK for construction trainees and apprentices and covers a range of skills and sectors from bricklaying and cabinet making to plastering and stonemasonry.
Kevin O’Donnell, National Painting and Decorating Trainer at Crown Paints and head judge of Apprentice Decorator of the Year, commented:
“At Crown, we’re not just a supplier of wonderful paint, but we also like to spread our wealth of knowledge, and nurturing the next generation of painters and decorators is a huge part of this.
“Taking part in Apprentice Decorator of the Year in partnership with SkillBuild has been a fundamental part of our efforts to inspire, excite and open up new possibilities for up-and-coming talent for over 40 years, and it was a privilege to see our nation’s most promising stars shine at this year’s event.
“Jade particularly stood out with her fantastic work. We’re so pleased to see her crowned this year’s winner and also extend a huge congratulations to the seven finalists, who undoubtedly have extremely bright futures ahead of them.”
Tim Balcon, CITB Chief Executive, said:
“I’m delighted to have been able to attend yet another year of SkillBuild, my favourite day in the calendar. It’s fantastic to meet all the talented individuals and hear about their career aspirations. It’s so important that we support this next generation of talent coming through to industry, encouraging them to pursue their passions and reach their full potential.
“It’s initiatives like SkillBuild that really make a huge difference and I’d like to thank everyone involved in making this year’s competition possible. Many congratulations to all the winners and everyone who competed, you should all be incredibly proud of yourselves.”
To find out more about Crown Paints’ Apprentice Decorator of the Year, visit: https://www.crownpaintsprofessional.com/knowledge-hub/training-skills/ady/