Crown Trade’s national contest puts next generation in the spotlight
A national competition for young painters and decorators has demonstrated its value in developing the next generation of industry professionals.
The Crown Trade Apprentice Decorator of the Year competition reached its climax with a hotly-contested final held at The Skills Show at the NEC in Birmingham in November, which attracted thousands of youngsters from across the UK.
With a critical shortage of skills across the painting and decorating industry, the competition shines the spotlight on the next generation at a vital moment.
Figures released by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) reveals a startling 13,250 painters and decorators will be needed between now and 2018 to meet growing demand.
And Debbie Orr, Marketing Manager from Crown Paints, says there is never a more important time to be investing in top talent to help bridge that gap.
She said: “As a business, we do all we can to encourage talent and pride in the trade.
“We understand the importance of investing in and developing the next generation of industry professionals, especially with the skills shortage looming large across the painting and decorating industry.
“This competition is an example of a proactive approach to bridging the skills gap, as it encourages young people to strive for excellence in their craft and reach the highest professional standards. The cream of UK industry was at the event and the painting and decorating industry was able to demonstrate the opportunities it offers.
“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.”
Twelve young apprentices came through regional heats across the UK to take part in the final and it was Ben Deer, from Dorset, who landed the £1,000 first prize.
Stefan Hubble, from Mansfield in Nottinghamshire, won £500 for finishing runner-up with third-placed Jordan Charters, from South Lanarkshire, claiming £250.
Bournemouth and Poole College student Ben, who works in the family business run by dad James, says winning the contest is the perfect start to his career.
He 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.
“It’s a fantastic boost to my confidence and something that will stand me in good stead throughout my career.
“My ambition is to set up my own business in Australia one day and this is a massive step in the right direction.”
Competitors were challenged to plan and paint a complex rugby ball stencil design, in tribute to the 2015 Rugby World Cup, against the clock.
Ben 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, Product Trainer and Competition Manager at Crown Paints and Apprentice Decorator of the Year Judge, 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 Ben’s expertise shone through in the end. He showed a tremendous amount of talent and ability and was a worthy winner.”