College Painting And Decorating Apprentice in Line for Award

Skill Build Granton Campus Pic Peter Devlin

An apprentice in painting and decorating for a Leicestershire-based business has impressed the judges of the East Midlands Chamber Generation Next awards, successfully reaching the shortlist for Rising Star and Apprentice of the Year.

Hattie Parnham from Wigston, who studies at North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College (NWSLC) and works for Ashby Decorator Centre Ltd, has been recognised as part of the awards which are designed to showcase the achievements of young professionals. The final awards ceremony is due to be hosted on 13 July 2023 in Derby.

In 2022, Hattie won the Silver media for painting and decorating competition in the Construction and Infrastructure skills category of WorldSkills UK and was selected as a member of the WorldSkills Squad UK with the chance to compete on a global stage at the 2024 competition in Lyon. In January 2023, Hattie was named as ‘Construction Apprentice of the Year’ at NWSLC’s annual Celebration of Achievement and selected for the Principal’s Prize. Last month, Hattie participated in a week of ‘Back to Basics’ training at Dundee College for WorldSkills UK and is hoping to go forward to the Skills Bootcamp at Warwick University in May 2023.

Hattie said, “I have always been creative and the painting and decorating course at NWSLC appealed to me after I left school. Winning this award would be incredibly helpful to me as I build my client base and set up my own business.Generation Next is a prestigious group and the East Midlands Chamber has a network of more than 4,300 professionals so it would be fantastic to secure the exposure from success in these awards. Team Gen Next is helping individuals like me to progress with my business so I would be honoured to be named as Apprentice of the Year or Rising Star.”

She added, “No two days are the same and I enjoy the variety of tasks and locations, and the fast pace of the work. I work alongside experienced professionals and learn from them every step of the way. I really enjoy working for Ashby Decorator Centre and have grown in confidence so much since I joined the business. I plan to launch my business over the next few years, starting by taking on private projects at weekends for friends and family while I continue to work full-time. I have already created a brand for my business (‘Hattie Paints’) and I am putting together marketing and promotional materials. I am keen to build my client base gradually before making a full-time commitment to working for myself.”

Hattie benefits from the support of NWSLC and the guidance of her tutor Paul Thornewell who has helped her to develop her technical skills in the workshop at the college’s Wigston Campus. Tutors at the college also ensure that Hattie understands the theory behind her craft and how to succeed in a commercial environment.

Brian Newton, Hattie’s line manager at Ashby Decorator Centre said,“Hattie has shown a genuine interest in the job from the start and is committed to learning the skills of the trade. I set high standards of attention to detail and Hattie is learning to work to those standards. Hattie works hard and is a huge help to me. She has matured and developed over the course of her apprenticeship and has seen some impressive success in the WorldSkills competitions.”

Marion Plant, OBE FCGI, Principal and Chief Executive of NWSLC said, “Congratulations to Hattie for reaching the shortlist of these prestigious awards. We’re very proud of Hattie and delighted that she has been recognised in this way. Hattie has benefited from some fantastic support from her tutors who consistently go the extra mile to help our apprentices. We wish Hattie the very best of luck for final of the Generation Awards.”

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