FORGET Lord Sugar – Sheffield lads Lee Bellamy and Kevin Somerset can show apprentices how it’s done.
Lee and Kevin, both 21, have taken first and second place in the national Painting and Decorating Association’s Paperhanger of the Year 2011 competition in Bristol.
The apprentices are both studying for their NVQ Level 3 in Painting and Decorating at Sheffield Council’s Construction Design Centre.
Lee, from Longley, who took first place, works for Andrew Ardron Decorators in Swallownest, while Kevin, of Shirecliffe, works for Carter’s in Nether Green.
The lads were tested on their ability to match and cut paper accurately, get levels on borders in place correctly and to apply paper smoothly with no bubbles. Lee won a £300 cash prize and an engraved trophy and Kevin won £200.
Lee said: “I’m delighted. The competition was really challenging, but the best approach was to take my time.”
Kevin, who has also been nominated for the title Apprentice of the Year in Painting and Decorating by organisation SkillBuild, said: “There’s no knack to getting wallpaper right – it’s just a lot of hard work. It is a lot more complicated than most people think. You have to get the times right for soaking and make the edges really neat.”
Kevin’s boss Luke Carter, 42, from Hunters Bar, set up his business 12 years ago after travelling the world as a shop fitter and decorator. During hsi travels he landed the most extraordinary job: decorating a yacht for the family of late US president Richard Nixon.
“We had to line all the walls in the presidential suite with 100 per cent silk wallpaper,” he said.
“It was amazing – the wallpaper was encrusted with gems and pearls.”
Neil Ogilvie, chief executive of the PDA, said: “It’s great news for Sheffield to have two trainees take first and second prize.”
The lads’ college tutor, Nick Clayton, said: “I am extremely proud of them both.”