A talented apprentice from Dorset is in the running to win a prestigious national title for young painters and decorators.
Ben Deer has won through to the final of Crown Paints’ prestigious Crown Trade Apprentice Decorator of the Year competition and will now compete for the UK title at a major industry event with a £1,000 first prize up for grabs.
Regional heats for the annual tournament, which supports training and education for the next generation of painting and decorating professionals, were held throughout the country during the summer.
Ben, aged 22, clinched victory in the heat held at Chichester College, and will now be one of 12 finalists at the Skills Show at the NEC from 19-21 November.
The Skills Show is an influential training and careers event featuring more than 50 trades-based competitions in which the ‘best of the best’ in each sector battle it out for the national title.
The annual event attracted more than 74,000 visitors last year.
Bournemouth and Poole College student Ben, from Bridport, said: “The heat was a tough challenge and a lot of hard work, so I was really pleased to come through it.
“I’m delighted to have reached the final and I’m really looking forward to it.
“The Crown Trade Apprentice Decorator of the Year is a great competition and winning the national title would be a fantastic start to my career.
“I know I’ll be up against some of the best in the country, but I’ll give it my best shot and see what happens.”
Competitors in each regional heat were challenged to create a complex rugby ball stencil design, in honour of the 2015 Rugby World Cup, against the clock.
Kevin O’Donnell, product trainer at Crown Paints and Crown Trade Apprentice Decorator of the Year Competition Manager, said: “This year’s project created a true test of skills, time management and ability to work under pressure.
“It required a great deal of skill and Ben’s expertise shone through.
“He’ll need to reproduce that great work and more to win the final, when he’ll be competing against the best in the country, but he has a great chance.”
Mr O’Donnell added: “Ben will need all of his powers of concentration for the final.
“For apprentices at the start of their career, the pressure is immense as they’ll be in the spotlight for three days and undertaking an even more complex project which must be completed in 19 hours.
“But he has already shown the potential to perform at the highest level of his trade and it’s a huge chance for him to show his skills to a huge audience.”
The winner of the final will receive £1,000 with £500 awarded to the runner-up and £250 for third place.
Debbie Orr, marketing manager for Crown Trade, said: “As a business, we understand the importance of investing in and developing the next generation of industry professionals.
“That’s why Crown Trade has been a proud supporter of the Apprentice Decorator of the Year competition for more than 36 years.
“The competition touches the lives of hundreds of apprentices at the start of their careers, encourages them to strive for excellence in their craft and reach the highest professional standards.
“This is a great opportunity for competitors to show just how well they’ve mastered the skills and techniques required.
“It’s also a chance for Crown Paints to encourage talent and pride in the trade and inspire more young people to take up vocational training and enter into professional trades.”
For more details of the Crown Trade Apprentice Decorator of the Year competition and the Skills Show, visit http://www.findafuture.org.uk/the-skills-show