Jane won a bronze medal in the Painting and Decorating competition at WorldSkills Amsterdam 1991. She’s now using the skills she learned in competition to help train the next generation.
Beginning her career as an apprentice at Leeds College of Building, Jane first got involved in WorldSkills UK Competitions in 1990. Her tutor put her forward to compete and, after a successful national competition, was chosen to represent the UK on the world stage at WorldSkills Amsterdam 1991.
With support from her employer, Bagnalls, Jane took place in specialist training before heading off to compete against the world’s top young painter and decorators.
“The competition was a whirlwind!” explains Jane. “Before competing, I was given special training by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and UK Skills (now WorldSkills UK). We learned techniques used in previous competitions – it was above and beyond my day-to-day training but based on what I had already been studying at college.”
Winning a bronze medal, she was able to use these newly developed skills to help her develop a successful career when she returned to the UK.
“All the training helped in the end,” she says. “When I came back from competing, I completed my apprenticeship and became a contract manager. I’ve now been at Bagnalls for 30 years, managing two branches and helping to train the next generation of apprentices.”
Painting it forward
Jane continues to put her apprentices forward to take part in WorldSkills UK Competitions. She is also responsible for supporting the development of apprentices at the Bagnalls’ training academy. The academy was established in 2004 to ensure trainees had access to a specialist tutor and learn real-life techniques with the latest technology to help their development.
“Competitions are really helpful for young learners,” says Jane. “They give apprentices a good background in the skills they need to do well, and they also help improve learners’ confidence, which helps them work under pressure. I make sure the training we give apprentices includes mini competitions to help them learn skills that they may not necessarily be taught in college.”
The future of apprentices at Bagnalls
With a bespoke training academy, Bagnalls craft tutor prepares apprentices for the challenges they face in competitions. Each trainee is given a specific design, which they have to reproduce to the required dimensions in a given time. Their work is then evaluated for core skills, including: dimension accuracy, laying out, cutting in, level of detail, depth of colour, colour matching and of course percentage completion within the given time.
Competitions give apprentices a good background in the skills they need to do well, and they also help improve learners’ confidence, which helps them work under pressure.