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UHI Inverness apprentices scoop 'Paperhanger of the Year' honours at painting and decorating gala

By Niall Harkiss

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Two painting and decorating apprentices at the University of Highlands and Islands Inverness have been recognised for their hard work and talent with an accolade from the Painting and Decorating Association (PDA).

Euan McLean and Blair Morrison both took part in the Apprentice Paperhanger of the Year competition held at Doncaster College and University Centre this summer.

Blair Morrison. Photo: Garry G Fry
Blair Morrison. Photo: Garry G Fry

Mr McLean, 20, from Morayshire, was runner up in the senior category, while Mr Morrison, 23, from Inverness, was runner up in the junior section.

Both were invited to attend the PDA’s Networking Event Gala Dinner, held at the Principal Hotel in York.

The pair battled it out against more than 35 apprentices tasked with showcasing their precision, stamina and skill over a gruelling six-hour wallpapering challenge.

Blair, who is an apprentice with Cameron Painters and Decorators, said: “It feels good to have gotten second place considering the number of applicants this year and I'd definitely recommend any future applicants to compete.

“I felt the awards ceremony was a highlight and this whole experience has given me confidence in my skillset as a decorator.”

The competition saw record demand this year, with almost double the usual number of entrants.

Euan McLean. Photo: Garry G Fry
Euan McLean. Photo: Garry G Fry

Mr McLean is an apprentice with Henderson Decorators.

He said: “To get second place with the amount of people who took part this year was really good - it gave me the confidence to go wallpapering on a job by myself.

“I would recommend more apprentices to do it as it will give them experience with something they might not get on site.”

The pair were presented with a certificate and cash prize at the PDA Gala Dinner by David Hope, national sales and development manager at competition sponsor Brewers Decorator Centres and PDA chief executive, Neil Ogilvie.

Mr Ogilvie said: “Hanging wallpaper demands careful preparation and intense concentration, combined with precise attention to detail.

“Completing a set design under a significant time pressure is no easy feat, and our Apprentice Paperhanger competition demonstrates the talent and skills acquired by people starting their careers in colour.

“Congratulations to Euan and Blair for the hard work and skill that is acknowledged by this award and our thanks to Brewers Decorator Centres, the sole sponsor of the competition.”

To find a PDA member near you, visit paintingdecoratingassociation.co.uk.

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