Apprentices brush up on skills for first round of contest

Industry News

The first regional heat of a nationwide challenge for painting and decorating apprentices has taken place at North Kent College, Gravesend.

The Painting and Decorating Association (PDA) hosted the Southern round of its Apprentice of the Year competition at the college, with 11 apprentices from across the region taking part.

It’s the 35th year the PDA has hosted the contest, which will include three more regional heats and a Grand Final.

The overall winners will be announced at the PDA’s Premier Trophy Awards, a glittering ceremony held at Plaisterers’ Hall, London in July.

The competition judges are PDA Chief Executive, Neil Ogilvie and Andrew Davis of the Association of Painting Craft Teachers (APCT).

Neil Ogilvie said: “2024 is a landmark year for the PDA which celebrates 35 years of the Premier Trophy Awards and Apprentice of the Year competition, as well as the 130th anniversary of the Association itself.

“The competition event at North Kent College was an excellent day, with both junior and senior apprentices really demonstrating their skills as well as taking the opportunity to network with their peers.

“Apprentices really value this experience, which is sponsored by Purdy Professional Painting Tools and supported by AkzoNobel.

“With just six hours to transform a large blank board into a copy of a complex image designed to test their precision, stamina and skill, the competition has become a proving ground for young people embarking on a career in colour.”

The Southern heat at North Kent College is the first of the regional stages of the contest, with further rounds set to take place at South City College Birmingham, Accrington and Rossendale College and City of Glasgow College ahead of the Grand Final at Doncaster College and University Centre in June.

Simon Willins, Head of Curriculum, Construction and Built Environment at North Kent College said: “We were delighted to host the Southern Heat of the PDA’s Apprentice of the Year competition, in our dedicated construction facilities here at our Gravesend campus.

“The standard of work during the competition was fantastic with all apprentices performing exceptionally under considerable pressure and showcasing the considerable talents they have already developed.”

The PDA is Britain’s largest trade body dedicated to the sector and represents painting and decorating businesses of all types from sole traders through to large scale national contractors employing hundreds of operatives.

With a proud history and a long-standing legacy of promoting high standards and best practice, the PDA requires its members to be insured and appropriately trained as well as committing to a Code of Conduct that includes providing quality work at a reasonable price.

To find a PDA member near you visit:

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