Acclaimed by the judges for his unique craftsmanship – his eye for design plus expert wallpapering skills – Stuart will now receive the money-can’t-buy prestige of seeing his wallpaper design made into bespoke rolls of wallpaper by Graham and Brown.
His prize includes the unique chance to see his paper being made at the Graham and Brown factory in Blackburn; further complemented with a factory tour and a luxury stay the Dunkenhalgh Hotel and Spa with meal for two, plus a Dulux Academy goody bag. Not to mention, the kudos of being crowned UK champion.
Stuart has been named the challenge champion after successfully beating off exceptional competition from experienced decorators across the UK. The stellar judging panel – consisting of head judge Neil Ogilvie, Chief Executive Officer at the Painting and Decorating Association; Marianne Shillingford, Creative Director of Dulux; Mark Rigby, Skills Development Consultant at Dulux Academy; Louise Stevenson, National Account Manager at Graham & Brown; and Rebecca Ireland, Product Manager, at Graham & Brown – praised Stuart for being “a credit to our sector”.
Mark Rigby continues: “The voting could not have been tighter. Scoring was out of a potential 300 points and the difference between second and first place was a mere three points. The voting included the public vote which accounted for 25 per cent and we placed huge emphasis on ensuring all the judges worked independently to each other, for a completely impartial result. Stuart stole the crown because, across our diverse judging criteria, he exhibited the best skills across the board.”
Vickie Mather, Dulux Academy Manager, added: “We created this competition with the sole purpose of celebrating the amazing talents of the skilled and accomplished professionals who make it their daily mission to raise the standards of our industry. All of our finalists showed the craftsmanship that make our industry great, and we are proud to honour Stuart Yates as the best of the best. He is a role model for the next generation of tradespeople to aspire to.”
“With a real mixture of experiences and inspirations any one of our finalists would have made a great choice but Stuart tipped it by showing great skill both practically and in creative vision.”
The Dulux Academy Design and Decorate Challenge has been created to celebrate this year’s International Wallpaper Week.
To take part, entrants were asked to design their very own wallpaper and submit – complete with a short description explaining the inspiration, and functionality, behind their concept. The finalists’ designs were then shared for public vote on www.duluxacademy.online, in a brand new element of this year’s competition.
Stuart then joined four other finalists – Nick Adonis, Karen Julien, Andrew Bigwood and Miles Newby – at the flagship Dulux Academy in Slough on 4th October 2018 for the second part of the challenge, where their wallpapering skills were put to the test. The day-long, three-wall hanging challenge was designed to test their cutting, specification, product application and matching skills.
All of the runners up took home Dulux Academy goody bags, packed full of Dulux Academy and partner merchandise.
Stuart sees this announcement as a springboard for his business. He explained: “This award is important to me because it’s important to my customers. They want to work with the best in the business and this award carries huge recognition. For my own business point of view, it gives me huge competitive edge. If a customer receives three quotes at a similar price, they will opt for the quote from a national award winner.”
Launched in March 2016, Dulux Academy is the UK’s first dedicated academy for professionals in the domestic and commercial decoration industry. It offers a range of courses designed to help decorators and apprentices upskill, build their business and hone their design knowledge. To date, more than 4,500 individuals have trained with the Dulux Academy across their numerous UK locations.
This year, the Dulux Academy offered painters and decorators across the UK a 50 per cent discount on all six of its wallpapering courses to attend at any time, if booked during International Wallpaper Week. Hundreds flocked to the site to sign up and access its expert advice and training.