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Highly Commended: The Ron Simmonds Trade Apprentice of the Year 2024 is Ysabella Payn

A huge congratulations to Ysabella for being Highly Commended in The Ron Simmonds Trade Apprentice of the Year Awards 2024.


Ysabella is currently undertaking an Intermediate Level 2 Painting and Decorating Apprenticeship with The Bell Group and City College Plymouth. Her apprenticeship journey began in October 2021 where she successfully made the transition from being a full-time student on the Level 1 Diploma in Painting and Decorating course at the College, to an apprenticeship, working for the largest painting and decorating contractor in the UK.


Nominated by Syd Dart, Lecturer at City College Plymouth, Ysabella is described as “a pleasure to teach, with a good nature and mature attitude, as well as a positive role model to other female apprentices.” Syd said: “Bella is very committed to her apprenticeship, and the contribution that she has made to her employer, as well as promoting female apprentices working in the construction industry.”


It is the above qualities and attributes that have seen her support high profile projects, including the refurbishment and restoration work on Grade 1 listed properties at Buckland Abbey and Saltram House. Her willingness to attend additional days at college, undertaking extra training activities have paid off, seeing her represent both The Bell Group and City College Plymouth in prestigious competitions.


Her competition success includes first place in the junior category of the southern heat, in the Painting and Decorating Association’s Apprentice of the Year Award. She followed this up with further success coming first in the South West heat of Skillbuild 2023, at South Gloucestershire and Stroud College. If that wasn’t enough, her competition success continued when she won United Kingdom’s Junior Painting and Decorating Apprentice of the Year for 2023.


It is not hard to see why Ysabella is considered Highly Commended by Building Plymouth! Syd said: “Her work ethic and commitment can only be commended and coupled with her skills, natural ability and enthusiasm to succeed; Bella is fully deserving of this award.”



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