An award-winning Northampton-based painter and decorator who has helped 15 local apprentices make their first start in the trade has praised the positive impact that mentoring young workers has brought to his business.
“Working with young people gives me purpose and it’s really satisfying to see them learn and grow – and it helps keep me young too” says Mike Poole, who has been welcoming apprentices at his business, Mike Poole Decorators, for the last 17 years.
Mike has built up a reputation as an ambassador of apprentices and is passionate about developing the painting and decorating skills of young people and new joiners to the industry. And with the launch of National Apprenticeship Week, he is continuing to share his expertise with his two latest hires, Max and Oscar, who are currently completing their three-year apprenticeships at colleges in Bedford and Northampton.
“We’ve been supporting Max and Oscar as they complete their college courses, helping them to learn practical skills such as painting and sanding and how to run a business. Oscar’s painting technique has come on leaps and bounds, and I’m now mentoring Max on how to run private projects and do quotes, as he wants to be self-employed and run his own business in the next month or so.”
Ever since taking on his first apprentice in 2005 while training at Tresham College in Corby, Mike has always had at least one apprentice working with him at any one time. As a Dulux Select Decorator and ambassador of the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), he has been able to pass his skills and expertise on to the next generation of painters and decorators.
“We have helped train a mix of students – male, female, young, mature and those with additional needs. We welcome anyone who’s looking to gain work experience. Once one of our apprentices has completed their course, we help to find them a place with another decorator in town. It helps get them into work quickly and frees up a space for us to help another apprentice.”
Mike is an active member of local training and college learning groups in Northampton and Bedford, working with teachers and employers in the town to offer work experience opportunities for those looking to start their career in painting and decorating. His tireless dedication to supporting and developing apprentices saw him scoop the Apprentice Mentor of the Year accolades at the Dulux Select Decorators Awards 2021.