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Family-owned London Irish firm demonstrates worth of apprenticeships

Islington-based K&M McLoughlin Decorating Ltd has run a successful training scheme since 2012

A family-owned London-Irish decorating firm that has long championed apprenticeships, K&M McLoughlin Decorating Ltd, last month launched its own K&M Awards to celebrate its training successes.

The awards, held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Kings Cross celebrated staff achievements across the board including Apprenticeships Completed Historically, First and Second Year Apprentices, and Improvers.

Founder Kevin McLoughlin, opening the awards, stressed the importance of investing in all ages, and encouraging individuals to succeed, by offering them that one opportunity that everyone needs supported by training and development.

This, in turn, helps local communities, he said.

“The individuals we are celebrating are the future of our business,” said Mr McLoughlin.

Cllr Richard Watson of Islington Council said he hoped more businesses would follow K&M’s “shining example” which had led to a strong bond between the council and the socially-committed firm.

As well as honouring apprentices the company celebrated long service awards, split into two categories, 15 years and more, and 30 years and more, of service.

Fariba Carr, Membership Manager for the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education spoke of the Institute’s mission to improve access to  high quality apprenticeships and technical education.

Mr McLoughlin, she said, serves as a Route Panel Member for the Institute.

Materials Engineer at Bam Nuttall David Horrocks (FICorr, PCQI) spoke of his ‘humble beginnings’ as a Painter and Decorator, and said that sheer grit, determination and hard work had bright him to his present, elevated status within the industry.

He was applauded when he said he was living proof to the apprentices present of what can be achieved and how far one can come.  

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He presented Best First Year Apprentice to Gorkem Yildirim.


Caroline Hudson of City of London, Construction Careers, presented Best Second Year Apprentice to Alex Sutton. 

Sarah Smith of the Football Association presented the Best Improver Award to three winners, Kelly Aldridge, Lisa Winfield and Agneiszka Salamonczyk.  

The Lloyds Bank-sponsored Long Service Award – for fifteen years-plus, and thirty years-plus – was presented by Lloyds Banking Group’s Richie Coulson.

The 15+ years award went to Gary Evans, Charlie Lambert, Leslie Martin, Jack McLoughlin, Joe McLoughlin, Ross McLoughlin, 

Sam McLoughlin, John McNenamin, Paul Smith, Shaun Wakefield, Julie Welling and Stephen Simmons.

The 30+ years long service award went to Chris Lewington, Allan Montague, Peter Moore, Tony Parker, Frank Phelan and Arthur Phipp.

The Kevin McLoughlin Outstanding Contribution Award, presented by Kevin McLoughlin himself, went to  Training School Manager Allan Montague. 

Mr Montague spoke of how Kevin McLoughlin first asked him to take on responsibility for training in 2012 and said “he had no idea what he was letting himself in for”.  He said he has worked with over 700 people all of whom have their own stories.

He said that once the students successfully pass through the school and andare placed on sites, he continues to monitor their progress and keeps in contact with them.

Kevin McLoughlin said, presenting the award, “without Allan there simply wouldn’t be a school”.

Pascal Coyne of Islington Council received a Supporter of the Year award for his robust support of K&M, investing in and training local communities, and working to improve social mobility.

The gathering heard a real life example of how apprenticeships can change lives and give professional and social opportunities to people who might otherwise go down the wrong path.


Freddie Newmarch lived in Clacton until the age of 17 when his parents moved him to London because he was hanging around with a bad crowd and getting into trouble. He enrolled as a K&M apprentice in October 2013, completed the course and earned his CSCS card.  

K&M helped him into an apprenticeship with Barry Stewart decorating company as he completed his NVQ at the K&M Training School in Islington going on to work for various companies to gain more experience.  

Last year he set up his own painting and decorating business in Islington employing seven people and has since returned to K&M at Brewery Road to take on two of its learners this year.  He works all over London and has a healthy order book and is slowly growing the company.  He regularly turns to Kevin or Allan for advice.  

The awards ceremony came at the end of a gratifying two weeks in which founder Kevin McLoughlin and head of training Allan Montague won Masterbuilder awards for outstanding contribution to the trade and the firm won a Lord Mayor’s Dragon Award for Inclusive Employment.

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