Painter & decorator

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Werner, 53

How did you become a painter and decorator?

Werner migrated to Australia with his parents when he was 11 years old, and when he was 14, he started working in his school holidays with his father, who was a master painter.

Whenever his dad had too much work, he would ask Werner to help him out. He enjoyed the work so much, he decided that he wouldn't go back to school and instead undertook an apprenticeship with his father.

Now 53 years old, Werner says that he still enjoys his work as much as he did when he first began. He now works for himself operating his own business, Bridgewater Painting and Decorating.

What are the pros?

"The work of a painter and decorator is often challenging," says Werner. "You need a lot of patience to deal with some demanding customers. At times, tasks like fancy sponging, marbling, or corners, can be really fiddly. Regular houses are quite easy to work on. It's the fancy things that are really time consuming and where complications can arise."

Being a painter and decorator is a rewarding career, too. "It's a great feeling when you know that you have given 100% of yourself to the work, and that your customers are happy," says Werner. He adds, "I'm a perfectionist, so I never stop until I know that my customer is happy. Otherwise I won't be happy!"

And the cons?

However, the work does have its downsides "There is often a lot of dirty work involved. I don't enjoy working with weatherboard, nor do I enjoy sanding in the slightest, but these tasks are just part of the job, and you have to do them regularly.

"And sometimes the work can be extremely frustrating: "People often don't appreciate the time it takes to do the job properly. So, time and time again we get called in to fix up mistakes that people have made in their own homes!"

Tips for new players

When asked what he'd advise potential students wishing to pursue a career in painting and decorating Werner responded, "The most important thing you should have is patience and a good eye for colour and style. If you have the knack of being able to see a bare room and imagining what it would like after some serious work, then this is probably a good career to get into."

Find out more

Visit the MyFuture website to find more about duties and tasks, work conditions, earnings and required qualifications for a career in painting and decorating.

Find out more about this career path at myfuture.edu.au (new window) (Note: free registration is required to access the myfuture site).