Crown Paints Apprentice Decorator of the Year is back for 2019
With the Crown Paints Apprentice Decorator of the Year regional heats underway, we’ve turned to judge and 2015 winner Ben Deer for details on the competition, as well as some top tips on what the judges are looking for from this year’s hopefuls.
The regional heats are always exciting as we get to see so much talent, and it gives us an idea of what to expect throughout the competition. Crown Paints Apprentice Decorator of the Year is open to any painting and decorating student or apprentice on a course run by an NVQ/SVQ accredited provider, so during the regional heat stage of the competition, we meet people from all over the UK.
At each of the twelve regional heats, apprentices are presented with a design which has been created by the Crown Paints in-house design studio, which they’re then required to create a scaled-up version of. Apprentices are given five and a half hours to complete the design to the best of their ability, with the eight highest scoring competitors securing themselves a place in the National Final – and the chance to later be named Apprentice Decorator of the Year.
Before the competition begins, the judges give the apprentices a brief on the design and how the competition will work. As both a judge and a former Apprentice Decorator of the Year, here are my top five tips on what we’re looking for in the regional heats and throughout the competition:
- Meeting official criteria. There are six key elements to the official criteria during the regional heats and later, the national final: Health and Safety compliance, setting, decorating, wallpaper design, stencils, the Crown Trade logo and neatness of workmanship. As judges, we want to see a high standard of technical accuracy for all of the above, including clean lines and accurate cutting-in.
- Using curriculum-based techniques. The criteria we use is based on what painters and decorators are taught under the National Curriculum, so we like to see apprentices sticking to the techniques they’ve learnt at college.
- Time management. In the real world of decorating, time management is essential, which is why we put a time limit on how long competitors get to finish their work. While it’s important to work efficiently, it’s also important to maintain finesse and high standards of work – so we’re looking for that balance.
- A tidy work station. As with time management, keeping your workspace tidy is important on real decorating jobs. It’ll keep you organised, which will in turn help to keep you focused on the task in hand. Judges take it very seriously, and we even deduct points for untidy spaces.
- A positive attitude. Having a positive attitude can make all the difference in situations like the Crown Paints Apprentice Decorator of the Year competition. As nerve-wracking as it can be, it’s good to see competitors enjoying themselves and having confidence in their abilities.