Student paints himself in glory after prize win

Tom Pawlowski (Right) with Apprentice Decorator of the Year Competition Manager, Kevin O'Donnell
Tom Pawlowski (Right) with Apprentice Decorator of the Year Competition Manager, Kevin O'Donnell

A West Suffolk College student has scooped a national title after beating seven other regional finalists in a prestigious painting and decorating competition.

Tom Pawlowski, 18, of Ashwell Road, Bury St Edmunds, took gold at the national Skills Show at Birmingham’s NEC, when he was judged Crown Trade Apprentice Decorator of the Year.

The trainee, who is in his final year of a City and Guilds qualification, is now hoping to progress to the international stage as an elite member of Team UK at EuroSkills 2018 in Budapest and WorldSkills in Kazan, Russia, in 2019.

Tom said: “I didn’t know what to expect because I was the only finalist who was a student, the others were all employed and had a lot more experience than me. It was brilliant to win.”

He also won the £1,000 prize money for his masterpiece, created in just 19 hours, during the three-day event.

When asked what he would spend his winnings on, he said: “I’m not sure, but I’m thinking about investing in some really nice brushes and tools.”

Looking into the future, Tom is considering going to university to further his studies with an interior design course and eventually hopes to set up his own business.

Kevin O’Donnell, Apprentice Decorator of the Year Competition manager, said: “The standard of work at this year’s show was extremely high, but Tom’s skills and talent really shone through in the competition and he is a real credit to his college and the industry.

“His ambition to go on to greater things shows that there are many opportunities in the painting and decorating industry and practical-based careers can be extremely rewarding and open doors to some amazing professional pathways.”