National stage beckons for Crown Trade’s top apprentice decorators
Apprentice decorators have taken their first steps on the road to potential international glory by winning their way through to the final of Crown Trade’s Apprentice Decorator of the Year competition.
The apprentices, selected from heats held around the UK, may have the chance of following in the footsteps of WorldSkills Team UK painter and decorator Curtis Baker who represented Britain at the skills Olympics event in Sao Paulo, Brazil last month.
Curtis began his journey as a Crown Trade Apprentice Decorator of the Year competitor and rose through the ranks to take the international top spot. The competition is a cornerstone of Crown Paints’ commitment to encouraging the next generation to embrace vocational skills as a great career route.
This year’s finalists will follow the same path when they take to the stage at The Skills Show at Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre from November 19th to 21st to compete for the national title along with a £1,000 first prize, £500 for second place and £250 for third.
The Skills Show is the UK’s most influential skills, training and careers extravaganza. It showcases 50+ trades-based competitions where the ‘best of the best’ compete in their chosen skill area in an arena which attracted over 70,000 visitors last year.
Heats were held at colleges across the country earlier this year and competitors were challenged to create a complex rugby ball stencil design, in honour of the 2015 Rugby World Cup, in just 5 ½ hours.
The regional winners chosen to compete for the Crown Trade title are:
- Lincolnshire winner, Catherine Paget of Lincoln College
- Shropshire winner Amanda Conner of Shrewsbury College of Arts and Technology
- Dorset winner Ben Deer of Bournemouth and Poole College
- Durham winner Ryan James Chamberlain of New College, Durham
- Lancashire winner Nathan Vas of Preston College
- South Lanarkshire winner Jordan Charters of Edinburgh College
- South Yorkshire winner Natalie Ormiston of Rotherham College
- Nottinghamshire winner Stefan Hubble of Vision West Nottinghamshire College
- Durham winner Gemma Chizary of New College, Durham
- North Yorkshire winner Michael Leaf of York College
- Kent winner Jamie Oliver of East Kent College
- Conwy, Wales winner Rorik Smith of Grwp Llandrillo Menai.
Product Trainer at Crown Paints and Apprentice Decorator of the Year Competition Manager, Kevin O’Donnell said: “This year’s project really tested their skills, time management and ability to work under pressure in front of an audience. It was challenging but really did showcase the excellent skills of those who were successful.”
“The finalists will need all their powers of concentration for the next level of competition at The Skills Show. For apprentices at the start of their career, the pressure will be immense, but they have already shown the potential to perform at the highest level in their trade.
“They will be in the spotlight for three days, undertaking an even more complex project which must be completed in 19 hours. WorldSkills scouts will be watching their performances and, of course, thousands of visitors will also be looking on to add to the pressured environment.
Crown Paints Marketing Manager Debbie Orr added: “As a business we understand the importance of investing in and developing the next generation of industry professionals, which is why Crown Paints has been a proud sponsor of the Crown Trade Apprentice Decorator of the Year competition for over 36 years.
“The competition touches the lives of hundreds of apprentices and trainees at the start of their careers, encourages them to strive for excellence in their craft and reach the very highest professional standards.
“This is a great chance for competitors to show their tutors and employers, along with a panel of expert judges, just how well they’ve mastered the skills and techniques required. In addition, for Crown Paints it’s an opportunity to encourage talent and pride in the trade for the next generation of painting and decorating professionals.”