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Careers in the Painting & Decorating Industry

As the UK's leading paint manufacturer, we know what an excellent career choice Painting and Decorating can be. Whether you are leaving school or thinking about a career change, we have a number of initiatives to help people who are starting out in the industry or developing their career.

The choices

The career options in Painting and Decorating are a lot more varied than you probably think.

Of course, many people are traditional painters in the domestic or commercial sector, but there are also opportunities for more specialised skills such as sign writing and interior design. Or you might feel your abilities are more suited to the administration side as an Estimator or Contracts Manager.

It all depends on what your capabilities and qualifications are. But there is every chance you will find a role that suits.

Don't think that all painting and decorating projects are small scale either. Oil rigs, bridges and steelwork all need protective coatings, whilst by contrast stately homes and grand hotels demand the ultimate in decorating finesse - skilled crafts people who can apply gold leaf to ornate fittings.

As you become established and experienced as a decorator, other doors will open up. For example, you might decide to pass on what you have learnt as a college teacher or assessor. You might decide to specialise in a specific skill such as period restoration or become an expert consultant for interior design and colour. Perhaps as your business grows and you take on more employees, you'll enjoy adopting a more managerial role and doing less of the actual decorating yourself. A decorating career opens up a whole world of possibilities.

Morley Lane - M J Lane Decorating Services, Hampshire

"My father was a heating engineer and he advised to get a trade, I initially went to college and then continued training with a company. During a recession I left painting and decorating to go into sales and this helped my customer service skills. I returned to the trade as I like being my own boss, my work is local to my home and I have built up a local reputation. I find it beneficial being associated with Dulux Select Decorators and I get a lot of job satisfaction from producing quality work and having happy customers."

Peter Clark - Peter Clark Painting Services, Isle of Man

"€˜Painting and decorating runs through generations of the family, my father and grandfather were both in the trade. I began as an apprentice in a team of 17 decorators employed by Queens Medical Centre Nottingham. The turning point for me was when I became self-employed at 19 and a lecturer at my college offered me training to become a part-time teacher. I then spent the next few years teaching and painting and decorating. For me it is a pleasure to go to work each day, to take a pride in my work and see a result at the end of a job. It is also satisfying to receive thanks and appreciation from customers together with the recognition of my skills and abilities."

Lynda Brown - Diamonds Decorating Services, Fareham

"I got into decorating through a set of circumstances, from working as a panel beater, I was asked to spray radiators by a painting contractor who then employed and trained me for the next four years. In 1990 I became self-employed and have never looked back. I like the fact I can pick and choose what jobs I accept. I am currently looking into taking up part-time teaching with a college and I am studying to become an NVQ assessor."

Getting started

You don't need any specific qualifications to train as a painter or decorator, though Maths, English and Technology can of course help with measurements, calculations and theory.

The usual starting route is through an apprenticeship which allows you to earn while you learn. You'll usually have to pass a selection test for an apprenticeship scheme and display a genuine interest in art and design.

In England and Wales an apprenticeship will normally lead to a Construction award. Then, as you progress through your career, you can gain more advanced qualifications such as an NVQ at level 2 or 3.

In Scotland the process is slightly different. Students between 14 and 16 can gain Skills for Work Initiative which gives you a chance to train for a vocational qualification in construction. In addition there are also the Modern Apprenticeships at SVQ level 3 which can be combined with an Advanced Craft Certificate to provide a very sound grounding into the painting and decorating industry.

For people already in the industry, we offer a series of national training courses. These are designed to help you learn and brush up on new techniques such spray painting or interior design. They take place at the Dulux Professional Trade Skills Centres across the country click here for more details

The above information is correct at the time of writing (July 2009) but please check the details are up-to-date with the various organisations listed.

The contents of this guidance are for information only and no guarantee, representation or warranty of any kind is given (whether express or implied) in relation to any of the information, advice or opinions expressed in it. Whilst ICI Paints AkzoNobel have made all reasonable efforts to ensure that statements appearing in this guidance are accurate, ICI Paints AkzoNobel disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the information, advice and opinions contained in this guidance. ICI Paints AkzoNobel reserves the right to make any amendments or alterations to this guidance at any time, without notice.

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