An apprentice from Newcastle College has reached the finals of a prestigious national skills competition, as Johnstones Trade launches its search to find the UK’s Young Painter of the Year.

Megan Bews, a Painting and Decorating Apprentice with Bell Group Limited, was awarded first place at the North East final, hosted by Newcastle College in March.

She was closely followed by Laurel Muse in second place, currently completing her apprenticeship with Cook and Turnbull Painting Contractors Ltd.

Both Megan and Laurel were awarded a cash prize and a bundle of decorating tools to help them in their future careers.

As a regional winner, Megan will now be invited to enter her work in the national final, which is yet to be scheduled due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

The competition, now in its 16th year, aims to recognise and celebrate the young talent within the painting and decorating industry. During the competition, participants are set a painting challenge incorporating various technical and decorative skills.

Andy Ritchie, Painting and Decorating Lecturer at Newcastle College, commented: “Johnstones Trade UK Young Painter of the Year is an important part of our calendar. As a competition which celebrates the skills of young people, it really encourages our students and apprentices to work hard and develop their skills.

“Both Megan and Laurel performed brilliantly in the regional final and I’m really proud of them both.

“I’ve no doubt that Megan will be a great ambassador for the College at the final and I’m sure that she will find it a valuable experience, whatever the outcome.”

Find out more about studying Painting and Decorating or Apprenticeships at Newcastle College.