PDA Chief Executive hails record year for apprentice competition

Apprentice of the Year

Chief Executive of the Painting and Decorating Association, Neil Ogilvie, has thanked competitors, colleges, sponsors and judges following the Grand Final of the trade body’s Apprentice of the Year competition.

A record number of entrants in 2022 prompted a change in format for the contest, with a regional heat in Scotland introduced for the first time alongside an all-new Grand Final stage of the competition.

65 apprentices took part in the regionals which were hosted by Accrington and Rossendale College, City of Glasgow College, South & City College Birmingham and North Kent College.

Top-scoring Senior and Junior apprentices from each heat then battled it out in a Grand Final event at Doncaster College and University Hub in May – and now face a tense wait for the announcement of the winners in each category at the PDA’s flagship Premier Trophy Awards.

The finalists were:

Harvey Bell, 22, an apprentice with Bell Group and student at Riverside College (Junior)

Hope Phillips, 18, an apprentice with Bell Group studying at Bell Apprentice Training Centre (Junior)

Ysabella Payn, 22, an apprentice with Bell Group and studying at City College Plymouth (Junior)

Charlie Montgomery, 16, studying at Workforce Training Services (Junior)

Holly Duffy, 20, an apprentice at Spain Building Contractors studying at Accrington and Rossendale College (Senior)

Courtney Maddison, 22, an apprentice at Smart Design Decorating studying at Newcastle College (Senior)

Elizabeth Horler-Rhymes, 25, an apprentice at Ian Williams Ltd and studying at Windsor Forest College Group, Langley College (Senior)

Isobel Burnett, 25, studying at Lincoln College (Senior)

PDA Chief Executive, Neil Ogilvie, said: “Our Apprentice of the Year competition is a gruelling six-hour challenge designed to test the precision, stamina and skill of those who are just starting out in a career in colour.

“The growth of the competition in recent years – with a record number of entries for 2023 – demonstrates the value in providing opportunities for apprentices to meet with their peers, showcase their skills and learn from the experience.

“It has been a fantastic year and I would like to thank all the competitors who have taken part with such enthusiasm, the colleges for hosting the event and my fellow judge Andrew Davis of the Association of Painting Craft Teachers.

“Without support from our sponsors, Crown Paints, CITB, Purdy Professional Painting Tools, Valspar Trade and Ciret UK, we wouldn’t be able to provide this opportunity which is clearly a huge benefit to people entering the trade.”


Kevin O’Donnell, Senior Technical Demonstrator at Crown Paints, the main sponsor of the Premier Trophy Awards 2023, said: “Painters and decorators have an unparalleled ability to bring colour, life and character to buildings through their work.

“It’s important that the industry maintains a strong pipeline of enthusiastic, skilled young people working in the trade.

“That’s why we’re incredibly proud to sponsor a competition that supports and nurtures the next generation of talented professionals.”

For more, visit: www.paintingdecoratingassociation.co.uk 

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