A YOUNG painter and decorator has been officially crowned the best apprentice in the business.
Ayla Foulis, from Dunfermline, beat off stiff competition from across the UK to win the prestigious Crown Trade Apprentice Decorator of the Year title.
The 24-year-old picked up her £1,000 prize at a special presentation at Fife College, where she is a third-year student.
Ayla 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.
“I’m thinking of taking an interior design course in future and want to set up my own business one day, so I think this can be the perfect stepping stone.”
Ayla was one of seven apprentices who came through regional heats to contest the final of the national competition at The Skills Show at the NEC in Birmingham in November.
Each competitor was challenged to complete three complex tasks designed to test the quality of their technique and time management.
Ayla 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.”
The competition, organised by Crown Trade as part of its initiative to support the next generation of industry professionals, is used to talent spot decorators with the potential to represent the UK at the prestigious Worldskills Kazan 2019 in Russia.
Debbie Orr, Marketing Manager for Crown Paints, said: “As a business, we do all we can to encourage talent and pride in the trade.
“It is also vital that we attract the next generation of professionals to enter the industry and we do all we can to encourage them to hone their skills to the highest level.
“This competition is an example of that approach as it encourages people to strive for excellence in their craft and reach the highest professional standards.