PDA welcomes first apprentice from Belfast to competition

Charlie Montgomery

An apprentice from Belfast is the first competitor from Northern Ireland to take part in the Painting and Decorating Association’s Apprentice of the Year competition.

Charlie Montgomery, 17, from Carrickfergus, travelled from Belfast to Birmingham to take part in the third regional heat of the new-format Apprentice of the Year competition at Longbridge construction campus of South & City College Birmingham.

Charlie was one of 13 apprentices from eight colleges to take part in the gruelling six-hour challenge, which requires apprentices to take a complex design on paper and translate it into a carefully completed ‘mural’.

Lecturer in painting and decorating at South & City College Birmingham, Mark Morris said:

“We’re really excited to have hosted the PDA’s Apprentice of the Year competition event for the first time.

“It’s been great to watch the apprentices put their skills to the test and see them really engage with the competition.”

Top-scoring apprentices from the regional heats held in Accrington, Birmingham, Glasgow and Kent, will battle it out in a Grand Final to be held at Doncaster College and University Centre.

The competition is judged by Andrew Davis from the Association of Painting Craft Teachers (APCT) and PDA Chief Executive, Neil Ogilvie.

Neil said:

“Our Apprentice of the Year competition has expanded in recent years, with 75 apprentices entering the contest across the four regional heats in 2023.

“We’re delighted this year to have welcomed Charlie to the competition. He is the first entrant to travel from Northern Ireland and we’re very proud to offer apprentices across the UK the chance to network with their peers and really push themselves to excel.

“We’d like to thank the team at South & City College Birmingham for hosting the third competition event as well as our sponsors, Crown Paints, CITB, Purdy Professional Painting Tools, Valspar Trade and Ciret UK, without whom we wouldn’t be able to provide this opportunity.”

The Apprentice of the Year winners will be announced at the PDA’s flagship Premier Trophy Awards ceremony, held at the prestigious Plaisterers’ Hall in London.

Kevin O’Donnell, Senior Technical Demonstrator at Crown Paints, the main sponsor of the Premier Trophy Awards 2023, said: 

“Painters and decorators have an unparalleled ability to bring colour, life and character to buildings through their work.

“It’s important that the industry maintains a strong pipeline of enthusiastic, skilled young people working in the trade.

“That’s why we’re incredibly proud to sponsor a competition that supports and nurtures the next generation of talented professionals.”

For more information about joining the PDA, visit Become a Member ≫

group of painters and decorators