Talented 19-year old Jordan Jeffers from Portadown in Northern Ireland has delighted his tutor and employers by winning the national final of the 2014 Crown Trade Apprentice Decorator of the Year Competition held at the NEC in Birmingham this month.
The painting and decorating competition, sponsored by decorative coatings manufacturer Crown Paints for over 36 successive years, is one of ten SkillBuild contests which set out each year to find the nation’s very best apprentices and trainees working in different areas of construction. The 2014 national finals of all the SkillBuild competitions took place at The Skills Show, the UK’s largest skills and career event, organised by WorldSkills UK.
Jordan, who is serving his apprenticeship with BMK Decor in Lurgan and studying for his NVQ Level 3 P&D Diploma at Southern Regional College, beat off stiff competition from eight other young men and women from across the UK, all of whom had already achieved top marks in a series of one day painting and decorating events over the spring and summer.
The national final was much more challenging, with each finalist required to complete a complex testpiece, designed to allow them to demonstrate various skills and techniques required of a professional painter and decorator. “It was hard work and at one point during Day 2 I’d almost given up hope of getting everything finished in time”, admitted Jordan, “Even though I caught up on the last day and eventually finished with time to spare, I really didn’t think I’d won, so I was over the moon to hear the results.”
Jordan’s tutor Paddy Maguire from Southern Regional College said he was “absolutely thrilled” to see his star student win the Crown Trade Apprentice Decorator of the Year final. “It’s taken me seven years to get a Southern Regional College P&D student into the top spot in this prestigious event, so I couldn’t be happier!,” he said, “Jordan thoroughly deserved to win. He’s an extremely determined young man and very meticulous about his work. He has great concentration skills too, which really came to the fore in the competition and helped him to succeed under pressure.”
Jordan’s boss Brendan McKerr, owner of BMK Decor, said: “We’re all really proud of Jordan. He’s been with us for over a year and he’s proved to be a superb apprentice. I know I can trust him to take care of any project now and I know it will be ‘A1’. We can’t wait to take him on once he’s qualified”.
In addition to his SkillBuild gold medal, Jordan has also won £1000 prize and much coveted Crown Trade Apprentice Decorator of the Year trophy from Crown Paints. The runners up, Kristian Pilmer from New College Durham, and Driss Keriouh from Edinburgh College, won £500 and £250 respectively from Crown Paints in addition to their Silver and Gold SkillBuild medals.