PAINTING and decorating students from across the UK have put their skills to the test in a national competition.

The Apprentice Paperhanger of the Year contest, organised by the Painting and Decorating Association (PDA) with the help of long-standing sponsor Brewers, was held at The Hub in Doncaster earlier this month.

Now ten students face a gruelling wait to find out who will be named the best paperhanger in the country at a prestigious event next month.


Neil Ogilvie, Chief Executive of the PDA, said: “We’ve been running this competition for over 20 years now and winning it is no mean feat.

“Apprentices are really put through their paces, demonstrating their ability in hanging wallpaper against the clock.

“We think the competition is a really good opportunity to give students a feel for what it’s like working for clients in a real-life situation.”

The annual seven-hour competition was spilt in to two different categories, a new entrant and a senior level.

Six apprentices took part in the new entrant competition and were given a three-sided booth to wallpaper, whilst the four senior level students had to wallpaper a mock living room, which included a fire surround, internal angles and borders as well as inlay panels.

Judged by past PDA North East Regional Presidents, Alan Pearson and Dave Woods, the students were scored on strict criteria.

The judges were looking for a good work ethic and accuracy was of paramount importance.

Marks were deducted for patterns and joints that didn’t join properly, as well as the presence of air bubbles underneath the wallpaper.Abbie_Johnson_Working.jpg

Studying towards her NVQ Level 1, 19-year old Abbie Johnson, who is employed by Bradford Council, competed in the entrant level competition.

She said: “I love what I do and this competition has been a great challenge for me.”

Stuart Yates, National President of the PDA, was thrilled with the atmosphere of the day and the talent that was showcased.

He said: “It’s been a brilliant day and the skill and determination that I’ve seen from the competitors has been great.

“Not only are they competing for a cash prize but also for the title and prestige that they can carry with them in to their future career.

“It’s a real confidence builder for them.”


Mitchell Scott, 18 – who is studying towards his NVQ Level 3 in painting and decorating and works for M. Hancock Painter and Decorator in Doncaster – won the entrant competition last year and has returned this time to compete at the senior level.

He said: “I enjoy painting and decorating and this is a really good competition that gives everybody the chance to showcase their skills.”  

The winners and runners up with be announced at the PDA Conference Gala Dinner at Bristol Marriott Royal Hotel on Saturday, November 11.