Decorating student from West Suffolk College wins gold at skills competition

Thomas Pawlowski, who won gold at the UK final of a skills competition in Birmingham. Picture: WEST

Thomas Pawlowski, who won gold at the UK final of a skills competition in Birmingham. Picture: WEST SUFFOLK COLLEGE - Credit: Archant

A decorating student from West Suffolk College won a gold medal at the UK final of a skills competition in Birmingham.

Thomas Pawlowski, who won gold at the UK final of a skills competition in Birmingham. Picture: WEST

Thomas Pawlowski, who won gold at the UK final of a skills competition in Birmingham. Picture: WEST SUFFOLK COLLEGE - Credit: Archant

Thomas Pawlowski, from Bury St Edmunds, competed against opposition from across the country and achieved great marks for a complicated room set, which he had to paint and wallpaper.

Thomas was already the east regional champion when he went to The Skills Show UK final, which is a competition for students and young apprentices organised by World Skills UK.

His gold medal now means he is on course to meet the best in Europe in Budapest next year followed by a trip to Russia in 2019 to meet the world’s finest painters and decorators.

Thomas, who has studied at the college’s Milburn campus for three years, said: “The competition was very stressful and it was difficult to complete it in the 19 hours over two days. I was really shocked when I won.”

Thomas was the only student competing in his class who was not an apprentice and hopes to be able to start his own decorating business in the future.

The competition involved work that he had studied at college, but the area had to be decorated a certain way by working out written instructions first.

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After taking art at GCSE, Thomas said he always held an interest in decorating and is now looking at staying at the college to take a degree in interior design with the University of Suffolk.

His painting skills have already been admired by others at the Milburn campus as he has painted several walls, including a night time scene of the Bury St Edmunds skyline in reception.

This year joiner, and former West Suffolk College student, Conor Willmott was awarded a medal of excellence when he competed at the World Skills event in Abu Dhabi.

Neil Bentley, chief executive of World Skills UK, said: “Congratulations to Thomas Pawlowski on his success at the national finals of the World Skills UK competitions, which were held in Birmingham.

“As a medal winner, he can count himself as one of the very best in the UK in his chosen skill, and he and his college can be very proud of the achievement.

“I recognise the dedication that Thomas has shown in preparing for the competition, and that this has been fitted around his training commitments and employment.”

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