Mitchell Scott and Adam Knowles, both 18, took the top two places at the Apprentice Paperhanger of the Year competition.Adam_Knowles_Working.jpg


Senior Apprentice Paperhanger of the Year was awarded to Mitchell with Jessica Mays placed as his runner-up, and Adam Knowles came out on top in the junior category, with Abbie Johnson coming in a close second.


The awards were presented at a prestigious gala dinner, organised by the Painting and Decorating Association (PDA) at the Bristol Marriott Royal Hotel earlier this month.


All four apprentices held their nerve in the PDA’s national competition, held at The Hub in Doncaster back in October.


Abbie_Johnson_Working.jpgThe annual seven-hour contest puts the wallpaper hanging skills of apprentice decorators from all over the UK to the ultimate test.


Four senior level students were tasked with wallpapering a mock living room, with extra challenges including a fire surround, internal angles and borders as well as inlay panels.


Mitchell’s success comes a year after he won the Junior Apprentice Paperhanger title.


Studying towards an NVQ Level 3 in Painting and Decorating at The Hub in Doncaster, the 18-year old apprentice – from Bircotes – also works for M. Hancock Painter and Decorator.


He said: “The competition is so realistic and reflects everyday working situations, including the relationships you build and the pressure you’re under. Mitchell_Scott_Working_with_Neil_Ogilvie.jpg


“The hardest part for me were the inlay panels and I definitely wasn’t confident that I’d won.


“But I was thrilled to find out I’d gained the title for the second year running, it’s a really good feeling.”


It was the first time that 19-year old Jessica, from Dewsbury, had taken part in the competition.


As well as working for Leeds-based Medusa Décor, Jessica also attends Leeds College of Building, studying towards an NVQ Level 3 in Painting and Decorating.


Jessica_Mays_Working.jpgShe said: “This is the first time that I’ve entered this competition and I’m over the moon to be placed as the runner up.


“I like wallpapering and practised beforehand, so I felt quite confident going in to it.


“I’m definitely going to go back next year and give it another shot.”


Six apprentices took to the stage in the junior category, and were required to wallpaper a three-sided booth.


Winner Adam Knowles, from St Helens, is studying towards an NVQ Level 2 in Painting and Decorating at St Helens College and is employed by Bagnalls North West.


He said: “This is the first time I’ve entered the competition and it’s a brilliant feeling to have won, especially as my girlfriend was there when they announced the winners.


“Bagnalls are really proud of my success too and I’m planning to take part in the senior level contest next year.”


Runner-up Abbie Johnson, who is 19 from Cleckheaton, is currently studying towards an NVQ Level 2 at the Leeds College of Building as well as working for Bradford Council.


She said: “I’d only been wallpapering for two or three weeks so I didn’t have much experience.Simon_Walmsley_Adam_Knowles_Stuart_Yates.jpg


“We had to put a border around too and that was the first time I had ever done one, matching the pattern up wasn’t easy either.


“But the atmosphere was great and really friendly with like-minded people.


“I never thought I would get this far, but I’m definitely going for gold next year.”


Judged by past PDA North East Regional Presidents Alan Pearson and Dave Woods, the results were kept under wraps until the gala dinner.


All four competitors were presented with a cash prize, certificate and trophy at the event, which formed part of the PDA’s National Conference.


Neil Ogilvie, Chief Executive of the PDA, said: “A huge congratulations to all four apprentices on their success in the competition.


“The quality of the work this year was exceptional, and they were up against some very tough competition.”


Simon_Walmsley_Mitchell_Scott_Stuart_Yates.jpgBrewers are a long-standing sponsor of the annual competition and Simon Walmsley, National Account Manager, was at the gala dinner presenting the winners with their awards.  


He said: “We’d like to congratulate the four students for doing so well and for showcasing their skills in this contest. 


“Brewers are proud to sponsor the PDA Apprentice Paperhanger of the Year competition, as we feel it’s a good way to help encourage the next generation into the painting and decorating trade.”