Ayla Takes The Crown In Apprentice Decorator Title
A NATIONAL competition for painters and decorators starting out in the trade has been hailed as crucial to the future of the industry.
The Crown Trade Apprentice Decorator of the Year contest reached its climax with a hotly-contested final at The Skills Show held at the NEC in Birmingham.
Seven apprentices came through regional heats across the UK to reach the final.
Ayla Foulis, from Dunfermline, emerged as the overall winner – landing the £1,000 top prize. She may also be chosen to compete at the prestigious Worldskills 2019, to be held in Kazan, Russia.
The Worldskills competition brings together the best of the best from around the world to represent their country, in their industry. Crown Paints has been confirmed as Lead Competition Supplier for the upcoming competition.
Stefan Hubble, from Mansfield in Nottinghamshire, won £500 for finishing runner-up for the second year in a row with third-placed Ryan Chamberlain, from Durham, claiming £250.
Ayla, aged 24, who works at AG Decorators in Cowdenbeath and studies at Fife College, says winning the contest is the perfect start to her career.
She said: “The Crown Trade Apprentice Decorator of the Year competition is a real showcase for the industry, so to win the title is a huge feather in my cap.
“The final was very intense, so to win it is a fantastic boost to my confidence and something that will stand me in good stead throughout my career.”
Each competitor in the final was challenged to complete three complex tasks over 19 hours, which were designed to test the quality of their technique and time management, using Crown Trade’s Clean Extreme and Fastflow Gloss products.
Ayla added: “It was difficult as we had to work to very detailed skill drawings and, because that’s where most of the marks are, it had to be perfect.
“I was nervous as there was a big crowd and, though it went well, I couldn’t believe it when I found out I’d won.”
Kevin O’Donnell, Competition Manager at Crown Paints and Crown Trade Apprentice Decorator of the Year coach, said: “This year’s final posed a true test of skills, attention to detail, time management and ability to work under pressure.
“It was a complex project which required a great deal of skill and the standard on show was unbelievable, but Ayla’s ability shone through in the end and she was a worthy winner.”
The Crown Trade Apprentice Decorator of the Year is seen as a crucial contest to win in the sector as it is the only competition associated with a national body, the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).
Debbie Orr, Marketing Manager at Crown Paints, said: “As a business, we do all we can to develop and encourage the next generation of industry professionals.
“We have organised and invested in this contest for 37 years. It’s an example of the proactive approach we take to encourage the next generation of professionals to reach the highest professional standards and its continuing success demonstrates its value.
“The cream of UK industry was at The Skills Show and the painting and decorating industry was able to demonstrate the opportunities it offers.
“The competition provides a great chance for those taking part to show their tutors and employers, along with a panel of expert judges, just how well they’ve mastered the skills and techniques required.
“Every competitor in the final showed just how well they’ve mastered the skills and techniques required and illustrated that the painting and decorating industry has a very bright future.”
Former Crown Trade Apprentice Decorator of the Year winner, Sandie Webster believes the annual event is vital in helping to develop the next generation of professionals.
The 33-year-old set up her own business after winning the competition in 2013 and says the success proved to be a huge source of inspiration.
She was invited along by Crown Paints to the 2016 final to do a demonstration with visitors attending the event who are looking for career inspiration.
Sandie, now running a successful business in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, showed the application of various trends – from Crown Paints Colour Influences forthcoming 2017 programme.
Sandie said: “The Crown Trade Apprentice Decorator of the Year shines the spotlight on those joining the trade and helps them to develop their skills.
“Simply taking part gave me a lot of confidence and turned out to have a massive influence on my career because it inspired me to set up on my own.
“It’s crucially important to encourage emerging talent, particularly when there’s a shortage of skilled professionals within the industry and that’s what the competition is all about.”
A video from the event can be viewed at https://youtu.be/kZ1iDFPYr1M