Painter and decorator job

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Mark Jackson represents one of the last trades to come on to a building or construction site. As a painter and decorator he does the last major task before the building is handed over to the owner.

How did you get into this work?

I was apprenticed straight from school. This took three years and I completed my City & Guilds in Painting and Decorating. I am self-employed and have my own business.

What is involved in painting and decorating a house?

Preparation is probably the most important thing to do as the quality of the finished job depends almost entirely on how well the surfaces are smoothed and cleaned. All absorbent surfaces have to be primed and sealed and an undercoat has to be applied before the final painting.

Do you have to work to a deadline?

Yes, and it can be rather stressful towards the end. I have to ensure that it is done to the highest standard using the right amount of materials. At the same time, the job has to be completed within the time allocated. Otherwise, there can be time penalties involved.

What tools do you use working as a painter and decorator?

Scrapers and sandpaper for preparation and brushes and rollers for applying paint. Cleaning and paint-thinning materials depend on the type of paint I am using and whether it is oil or water-based. On some jobs I can use spray painting.

What other training do you get?

Each year I receive four days training in health and safety.

What skills and qualities are needed?

You have to have a keen eye for detail to ensure that the finished job meets the specification. You must be fit because the work is physical and demanding and you must be prepared for some ladder work.

Mark's route to getting a job as a painter and decorator

  • Three-year apprenticeship
  • City & Guilds in Painting and Decorating.

Mark's painter and decorator tips

  • A job worth doing well demands patience.
  • Jobs in this industry demand skill and perseverance.
  • Always aim for quality in any job that you do.

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Painter and decorator wages information

  • The Building and Allied Trades Joint Industrial Council (BATJIC) agrees wage rates annually – currently a minimum of around £7.50 an hour.
  • Starting salary for a qualified painter, employed by a building contractor or local authority will be around £16-18,000.
  • Many go into business for themselves earning incomes of £25,000 or more.

Getting a job as a painter and decorator

  • There are NVQ/SVQs in Painting and Decorating at Levels 2 and 3 and a City & Guilds certificate in Basic Painting and Decorating Skills (6091).
  • The construction apprenticeship scheme offers a structured training programme leading to NVQ Level 3. Students at school usually apply for a construction apprenticeship in January of Year 11.
  • The Construction Award is available for people who find it difficult to get the workplace experience they need for an NVQ. CITB provides construction awards in painting and decorating.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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