Modern Apprenticeships supporting career changes for Katie and Sarah

Katie Jayne MacLachlan from Kilwinning, Modern Apprentice with Neil Barr Decorating Services Ltd

I began my apprenticeship in 2013 after spending a year at college studying NPA Painting and Decorating. Before that, I had studied Beauty Therapy but never really enjoyed it. I wanted a more hands-on role and this course suits me perfectly. The NPA course was a great introduction to painting and decorating and taught me the basic skills of the trade which helped me a lot as I began my apprenticeship. I felt that I knew a lot of the tasks that my employer was asking me to do, which helped me settle into working life.

I’m mostly working in domestic properties, decorating client’s houses. I now have the confidence to visit a property and know instantly what I am supposed to do and what tools to use. It really is amazing how much I have learned.

I go to college on a block release basis and really enjoy learning new skills which I take back to my employer. I was a quite a shy person before I started college but have become more confident at talking to others and expressing my opinion. I could never have done that before.

My apprenticeship lasts for four years, and I’m looking forward to continuing to learn new skills, develop new techniques and become the best I can be. Painting and decorating is a great career and gives you lots of opportunities. If you feel this is the career for you, then my advice is simply, go for it!

Sarah Thomson from Girvan, Modern Apprentice at the Turnberry Resort

I had been a Chef since leaving school and, although I really enjoyed the job, I felt that I wanted to do something different. Major renovations at home gave me the opportunity to decorate every room and this inspired me to look at painting and decorating as a career.

This course has taught me about preparing and coating walls, mixing paint colours and hanging wallpaper. The most important lesson I’ve learned is the more work you put into preparation, the better the finished product will look. It’s not just about painting walls and hanging wallpaper. You get the opportunity to be creative, and one of my favourite parts of the course is creating stencil designs and using these as an impressive focal point, at low cost, in any room.

Since coming to college I have definitely become more outgoing and able to work better with people. Being a student at Ayrshire College has also opened up career opportunities for me and I’m really excited to have secured an apprenticeship at Turnberry! I’m really looking forward to the challenge of working at such a famous resort and can’t wait to get started in the summer, whilst still attending college on a block-release basis over the next 3 years.

I would recommend Ayrshire College to any aspiring painters and decorators. Coming to college as a mature student was a big step for me. I had to quit one of my jobs to take this course but I’ll never regret it. This has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Turning a hobby into a career will soon be a reality.


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