The Crown Trade Apprentice Decorator of the Year – a step towards tackling the skill’s challenge

The Crown Trade Apprentice Decorator of the Year competition kicks-off its 38th year with a series of regional heats across the UK in April to find the next generation of outstanding candidates from the length and breadth of the nation.


In November, competitors making the winning round in the regional finals will find the stage set at the UK’s premier apprentice event, The Skills Show at the NEC, for the finals of the Crown Trade Apprentice Decorator Of The Year contest.


There’s even the chance of representing the country at an international level. Those star performers who stand out in the judging process, and meet certain age criteria can be ‘long-listed’ for selection for the WorldSkills UK Squad.


Although it is a contest with a long heritage, the competition – which offers £1,000 as a prize to the winner – is even more relevant today as it was when launched in the 1970s.


As the industry looks to new ways to address the issues raised in The Farmer Review last year, the Crown Trade Apprentice Decorator of the Year competition offers some idea of how to help tackle some the main issues raised.


The review entitled “Modernise or Die” was launched in October and among its findings was a list of symptoms of concern in construction the industry, including Workforce Size and Demographics, Lack of Collaboration and Improvement Culture and Poor Industry Image.


Kevin O’Donnell, Crown Paints’ Product Trainer and Crown Trade Apprentice Decorator of the Year Competition Manager, believes the contest is a good example of how industry can help tackle some of these symptoms raised in the review by raising the profile of the industry, creating a culture of self-improvement and learning, and helping to bridge the skill’s gap.


Kevin said: “With trainees of all ages and from across the UK able to enter, the Crown Trade Apprentice decorator of the Year appeals across a wide demographic.


“The competition heats are also held at colleges across the country, overseen by people who give their time freely to the events including college lecturers, industry leaders and Crown Paints’ staff, which means we can make the most of the framework in place to build relations and create a culture of collaboration.


“We also find the industry image is lifted through an extensive marketing programme which actively promotes the competition and the contestant’s achievements and raises the public’s understanding overall of the trade and its skillset.


“To compete in front of thousands of people at The Skills Show is an extraordinary experience. To also have the chance to compete in WorldSkills is nothing short of phenomenal.


“Crown Paints makes a significant investment in the Crown Trade Apprentice Decorator of the Year competition, including the provision of all the paint products and staffing and resources for the regional heats, as well as the final. We also offer the same level of support for the WorldSkills competition.


“We do it because we believe it is 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.”


More information can be found at


Picture Captions


  • 2016-65 Product Trainer at Crown Paints and Apprentice Decorator of the Year Competition Manager, Kevin O’Donnell,


  • 2016-3 The 2016 competitors at The Skills Show


  • The current Crown Paints and Apprentice Decorator of the Year winner, Ayla Foulis

24Feb17: FREE FOR PR USE: Pictured is Ayla Foulis of Fife College, who won first place in the Crown Trade Apprentice Decorator of The Year 2016. Also shown are (in glasses) Crown Paints representative Richard Bailey and Colin Scott, from Fife College *For page-7-photography-18-11-16-THE-SKILLS-SHOW-2016-3 (2000x1333) page-7-photography-18-11-16-THE-SKILLS-SHOW-2016-65 (1333x2000)