The decorate() proposal was that no new syntax be implemented -- instead a magic function that used introspection to manipulate the following function. Both Jp Calderone and Philip Eby produced implementations of functions that did this. Guido was pretty firmly against this -- with no new syntax, the magicness of a function like this is extremely high:
There is some history in Java using @ initially as a marker in Javadoc comments  and later in Java 1.5 for annotations , which are similar to Python decorators. The fact that @ was previously unused as a token in Python also means it's clear there is no possibility of such code being parsed by an earlier version of Python, leading to possibly subtle semantic bugs. It also means that ambiguity of what is a decorator and what isn't is removed. That said, @ is still a fairly arbitrary choice. Some have suggested using | instead.
No specific qualifications are required to work as a painter & decorator. However, in seeking employment, a certain amount of on-site experience is usually required. This could include experience in building or construction, which would provide a foundation of the skills required to do the job effectively. A complete beginner could use an apprenticeship as a way of getting initial experience in the field. To apply for an apprenticeship, applicants would usually need GCSEs in Maths, English and Technology as a basic entry point. The apprenticeships website is a good source of information. Specific courses also exist both to provide initial experience, and to accompany the learning experience of a trainee who is already working for a company. These include:
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