Catholic Life

Ushaw painter is apprentice of year

David Mahan, a painter and decorator at Ushaw College

A County Durham teenager employed to help maintain the largest seminary in England and Wales has been named Apprentice of the Year.

David Mahan, 19, works as a painter and decorator at Ushaw College and has recently completed his NVQ in painting and decorating at New College Durham.

He has been named painting and decorating Apprentice of the Year by New College Durham, where he has been studying for two years to complete his National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) Decorative Occupations Level 2 Qualification.

Mr Mahan is one of three apprentices currently working at Ushaw College, and has been working one-to-one with Jim Hope, Ushaw College’s maintenance manager.

Mr Mahan said: “I’ve been at Ushaw since 2008 and I couldn’t learn from a better person than Jim.

“I really enjoy painting and decorating, and learning from Jim. There’s lots of work here to do, and I like being given the chance to see something as it is now and change it into something different and better.”

David, who hails from Crook, previously completed his technical certificate in basic plumbing Level 2 at New College Durham, but now has his sights set on a career in painting and decorating. He is now considering what his next steps are.

“There are a lot of apprentices at New College Durham so to be named painting and decorating Apprentice of the Year is a big achievement – and especially at his age,” said Peter Seed, director of estates and facilities at Ushaw College. “David is a talented young man and we want to find a way to make sure he can stay here, but we recognise that college is important.

“We are extremely proud of David and delighted with the work he has been doing for us here at Ushaw College.”

Ushaw College is the Catholic seminary for the north of England. The 200-year-old seminary provides Mr Mahan with around 20 to 25 different techniques, including traditional methods, which he would not ordinarily experience if he was working for a painting and decorating contractor.

Mr Seed added: “There are techniques David hasn’t seen yet, such as repairs to stained-glass windows so there is a lot more to help him build upon his skills base.”