The Kent Blaxill Decorating Skills Centre has opened the doors to its first cohort of students at the Colchester Institute Sheepen Road site, in time for the start of the new term. 

A sponsorship agreement has resulted in the centre being fully refurbished using products provided by Dulux, supplied through Kent Blaxill.

The building exterior has been painted by local decorator Terry Hollingsworth and bears KB signage.

The centre operates 18 work bays and currently houses more than 30 full-time students, with local school groups due to make use of the facilities in the coming weeks.

“The link-up is a really positive experience for everybody,” said Adam Ward, director of faculty for construction and engineering technologies. “The new Decorating Skills Centre is an exciting, dedicated learning space for our students. The sponsorship enables us to provide better materials for the students, and the better the materials the more valuable the learning experience.”

Andy Whitney, KB decorative sales manager, said: “We are fully embracing the whole project and our involvement will not end with the centre launch. We will be giving talks on such things as protective coatings and brushes, and will be supplying decorative materials to the centre, as well as arranging visits and work experience at KB Colchester.”

The KB link with Colchester Institute was set up by territory manager Janine Scarff, who said: “With a local skills shortage it is great to be able to work in partnership with our local college to support in training the next generation of painters and decorators.

“We are keen to support both students and staff to enhance their knowledge of specialist products, while also providing a link between tradespeople and trainees.”

Image: (l-r) Graham Haylock, Gary Horne, Janine Scarff, Kevin Carruthers and Andy Whitney