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How to Become a Painter & Decorator - Careers

Becoming a painter and decorator requires a large amount of skills as it's a creative construction career. You will be working on a wide range of projects, from decorating domestic homes to painting large-scale industrial architecture, applying paint, wallpaper, and other finishes to interior and exterior surfaces, and structures. We’ve put together a brief overview of how to become a painter and decorator in the UK.

There are two main ways you can become a decorator:

Tasks undertaken by a painter and decorator can involve anything from choosing colour, measuring surfaces, stripping and repairing walls, applying paint and wallpaper, and applying finishes like stains, varnish and marbling. It’s also important to remember that providing good customer service is part of your role. You could do this by tidying up well once finished, and accurately quoting the cost of your work, whilst remaining professional and well-mannered.

Enrolling on a Painting & Decorating Course

To become a decorator and painter, you may wish to enrol in a Level 2 or Level 3 painting and decorating course. The level you enter will depend on your previous qualifications. The skills you will learn at college will assist you in securing employment in the painting and decorating industry, or even help you to set up your own business and become self-employed.

During your college course, you could be learning everything from stencilling and sponging, to spray painting and marbling. The college will provide facilities for you to test and enhance your skills. The entry requirements vary depending on the college, but the average is four GCSEs with at least a grade 3 (D), including English or maths at a grade 3 (D) or above. 

For those aged 16-18, you’ll be learning exactly the same content, but will undertake a Painting and Decorating study programme instead. These programmes include work experience, as well as the study of English and maths to perfect your employability skills. 

Enrolling in a college course combines the working knowledge and hands on experience that is required in the painting and decorating industry, allowing you to test your skills, as well as learning the tips and tricks of the trade.

Gaining a Painting & Decorating Apprenticeship

You can also become a painter and decorator through undertaking an apprenticeship. Apprenticeships are a great way of learning the skills you need to become a decorator of good quality, whilst giving you hands on experience in the industry. Learning on the job, whilst earning money is a popular way to become a skilled painter and decorator.

An apprenticeship lasts between 21-36 months, ranging from level 2 to level 4 depending on your experience and qualification level. The entry requirements, once again, vary depending on the college and company that you will be working for, but the average is five GCSEs at a grade 3 (D) or above, including English and maths. Other requirements such as the completion of an initial assessment and having an employment contract already within the industry may be applicable. The framework of the apprenticeship will include on-the-job training, and studying maths, English, and/or ICT (dependent on GCSE qualifications) at college whilst getting paid.

Once you have completed a level 2 or 3 apprenticeship, you can either progress to a higher level apprenticeship, or secure a job and begin your career within the painting and decorating industry. You will be a fully qualified tradesperson with the ability to apply for workplace projects.

If you are interested in applying for a college course or an apprenticeship in Painting and Decorating, contact us for more details.

Can I Become a Painter and Decorator with no Experience?

Anyone can try their hand at painting and decorating, even by doing some DIY at home, but becoming a skilled and qualified painter and decorator requires high levels of skill and hard work.

Getting a painter decorator job with no experience proves difficult, as people look for experienced tradespeople and craftsmen to conduct work inside their homes and businesses.

However, you don’t specifically need to be qualified to enter the role. As long as you have a familiarity with the required materials and processes, good communication skills, a creative outlook, time management skills and the physical strength and balance, it is possible to become a painter and decorator in the UK with no level 2-4 qualifications. Instead, you’ll need to have learned these skills through some form of experience, and know how to proficiently decorate a business or domestic premises.

It’s therefore a great advantage to have completed a painting and decorator course prior to trying to obtain your first paid job!

So, How can I Become a Painter and Decorator?

If you’re interested in pursuing this career, you can either take part in a painter and decorator course or study programme, or alternatively undertake a decorating apprenticeship.

Regardless of the option you choose, it’s important that you have the right qualifications to start with. English and maths in particular are important.

Any experience in the industry can prove really helpful in fuelling your passion for the role, or providing much-needed experience. If you have any further questions on how to become a painter and decorator, or questions regarding a College course or apprenticeship, becoming self-employed, or painting and decorating in general - please contact us, so we can get you the help and information that you need.

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