St Albans Plays Host to Industry Skills Contest

A national competition to find the nation’s best decorator is bringing the search to St Albans.

The UK’s largest independent coatings manufacturer held its national Crown Trade Apprentice Decorator of the Year Competition with a regional skills contest at Oaklands College on 12 April.

Organised under the ‘umbrella’ of SkillBuild, the UK’s biggest vocational skills competition for the construction industry, St Albans is the fourth of 15 towns and cities to host regional heats over the spring and summer months, which culminate in a national show of excellence.

At the college, contestants from across the region will demonstrate their skills and techniques during the preparation of a detailed ‘test piece,’ in order to impress the judging panel and win a place in the national finals in September.

This is the 33rd year Crown Paints has sponsored regional and national skills competitions for newcomers entering the UK painting and decorating industry, helping apprentices and trainees to achieve their full potential.

The contest also heralds part of a wider strategy from Crown Paints – which has Crown Decorating Centres located across the region including Welwyn Garden City and Luton – to invest in young people in 2011.

Recently the company announced its first-ever sponsorship of WorldSkills, known as the ‘Skills Olympics,’ an international vocational skills extravaganza, taking place in London in October.

Attracting national teams of talented young people from 50 different countries, competing in 45 different vocational competitions under one roof, WorldSkills takes place every two years.

At the event, Crown Paints will be sponsoring the competition to find the very best young painter and decorator in the world.

There’s a chance a candidate from the regional heat, could go on to pick up the WorldSkills title in the future, as those who show prowess at the Crown’s Trade Apprentice of the Year competition will have an opportunity to be selected to represent the UK at the next event, taking place in Leipzig, Germany, in 2013.

Brian Davidson, Crown Paints group chief executive, said: “At Crown Paints we’re committed to investing in people and skills and believe this is fundamental for the good of the business and the wellbeing of the economy.

“We’ve been demonstrating this in a hands-on practical way for over thirty years by working with colleges and training organisations, sponsoring a national painting and decorating competition for newcomers to our industry. This initiative nurtures talent, encourages young apprentices to achieve their full potential and importantly highlights painting and decorating as a skilled profession. We’re now delighted to be able to step up this commitment to a new global level by sponsoring WorldSkills 2011, and I sincerely hope that many other companies will follow suit and play their part.”

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