Painting and decorating students across the UK will once again have the opportunity to pitch their skills against each other as Dulux Decorator Centre’s competition opens for entries.

Encouraging talent and professionalism in the industry, the Student of the Year 2015 competition – previously called Apprentice of the Year – offers a challenging but rewarding experience for students to put their hard-learned skills to the test at 10 locations throughout England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Regional heat stages will take place between March 2015 and May 2015, culminating in a grand final in June 2015, to be hosted by Edinburgh College.

Now entering its 8th year, the competition is open to all full time, part time and student learners on a recognised NVQ or SVQ level two or three painting and decorating course. With the competition embracing a wider age group, students between the age of 17 to 27 can all now step forward to be considered for the competition.

Beverley Whitehead, marketing manager at Dulux Decorator Centre, said: “The Student of the Year competition continues to celebrate the passion these young students share while encouraging them all to pursue a career in the decorating industry. By testing their own skills against each other, students strive to be the best and are rewarded with a cash gift as well as a host of supplier donated prizes to help give them the best possible start on the career ladder.

“With the competition colleges are also awarded the opportunity to champion their best students and showcase their high teaching standards and are equally compensated too with generous prizes donated by our sponsors.”

Competitors will once again be tasked with setting out a design and working to a technical specification to complete a series of elements including painting and decorating, wallpapering, stencilling, waterborne glosses, plus special effects.

The winner of each regional heat will automatically qualify for a place in the national final, as will the overall highest marked regional runner up from all the heats. The final will see all eleven students go head to head to complete a more complex work piece over two days.

Students have until Friday 20 February 2015 to be entered via their college lecturer online at Only two places per college is to be granted. Colleges can only attend one heat.

Dates and regional heat locations:

12 March - North West Kent College

19 March - Cambridge Regional College

26 March - Sandwell College

23 April - Plymouth

30 April - Bridgend

7 May - Leeds

14 May - Slough

21 May - Blackpool

28 May - South Lanarkshire 

4 June - Southern Regional College - Newry