From education to employment

New National Painting & Decorating Academy Launched in Leeds

Painters and decorators of tomorrow are set to benefit from a brand-new trade academy just launched at Leeds College of Building. 

The new Decorating Academy has been made possible by partner Bell Group, one of the largest painting, decorating and building maintenance contractors in the UK.

This is the first Bell Group Decorating Academy to open in Leeds and the eighth in the UK. The Academy will see more opportunities open up to all Painting & Decorating students including apprentices in the region.

The Bell Decorating Academy will ensure Leeds College of Building students are skilled and work-ready through a range of opportunities, including painting and decorating work placements, site visits, project experience, and apprenticeships. Students will also benefit from free workwear, and masterclass workshops and career talks delivered at College by Bell Group staff.

The launch of the Bell Decorating Academy took place at the College’s Millwright Street Campus; guests included representatives from Bell Group, local stakeholders, and College staff and students. Speeches were made by Bell Group CEO, Craig Bell, and College Deputy Principal, Derek Whitehead.

One individual to make a return to College was Grant Henstock, a former student who is now employed full-time as a painter and decorator at Bell Group as a result of his Apprenticeship. Grant is the 1,000th student to complete his Apprenticeship with Bell Group and one of 170 currently taken on by the Group nationally.

Grant said:

“I can’t tell you how much I have got from the Bell Group partnership with the College. I now have qualifications, hands-on experience, and a job as a result of my Apprenticeship. I think it’s great that other students can now really benefit from the new Academy and hopefully fill the many vacancies in industry.”

Wayne Chappelow, Faculty Director at Leeds College of Building, said:

“We are really excited about this latest agreement with Bell Group and are delighted they have chosen us as their approved partner. They have always been great supporters of the College, but this Academy is a fantastic long-term commitment to young people in the region. Not only will students now gain first-hand experience of industry via work experience and placements, but the content of the professional qualifications they will gain will also be matched exactly to the workplace, making our students industry-ready as soon as they leave College.”

Craig Bell, CEO of Bell Group, said:

“Our academies help prepare young people for the working world, putting the theory of our trade into practice on site. The students will gain valuable insight into the industry, valuable knowledge, work experience and the chance at an apprenticeship with us in the future.”

Students will now be guaranteed an interview with Bell Group on completion of their course.  Employability skills will be a mandatory part of the learners’ overall programme including work-experience placements, project opportunities, site visits, and talks from industry specialists.

Image caption: Bell Group CEO, Craig Bell (L), with Bell Group employee and former Apprentice, Grant Henstock (R), in a painting bay at the College Decorating Academy.

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