Young painter-decorators from South Yorkshire produced a perfect finish to take top prizes in a national contest designed to showcase the industry’s best young talent.
Lee Bellamy, aged 23, from Sheffield, and Barnsley’s Craig Brook took second and third prizes in Pitch2Win, an initative set up by Dulux Decorator Centres to encourage and support entrepreneurship within the painting and decorating industry.
Judges said Lee, who learned his craft at the council’s Construction Design Centre and was an apprentice with Andrew Ardron Decorators, was a very close second at the event held in Blackburn.
They described his presentation to a Dragon’s Den-style panel of industry experts as ‘determined and well prepared’.
Lee received £1,000 in cash to help him start up his own business, as well as public relations support, vouchers, preferential credit terms for his local Dulux store - and a full set of personalised work wear.
He said: “I’m so pleased with being placed in Pitch2Win. The competition was really tough and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s an amazing start to anyone’s career – I can’t wait to get stuck in now.”
Lee was joined in the finals by fellow Construction Design Centre student Mark Ravenhill.
Third placed Craig, who completed his diploma at Barnsley College, received £500 and a similar package of business support.
Competition organiser Beverley Whitehead said: “There are huge business prospects for newly qualified painters and decorators – although the step to ‘going solo’ and setting up your own business can be daunting and demanding, in more ways than one.
“The idea behind the competition was to provide a pool of support to ambitious entrepreneurs hankering to take that step and launch a successful painting and decorating enterprise.”