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Painting & Decorating

NSPP offers a number of industry standard painting and decorating qualifications designed to ensure our students are capable, rounded and highly employable.

To be a painter and decorator, you should have good practical and creative skills. You will need to be able to work carefully and pay attention to detail. Sometimes you’ll need a good head for heights.

Employers often prefer people with some relevant experience. You could start by looking for work as a painter and decorator’s labourer or ‘mate’.

Work activities

As a painter and decorator, you would work on a variety of domestic and industrial projects ranging from re-decorating homes to applying heavy-duty finishes to large structures like bridges.

On a domestic job, you would use paint, varnishes and wallpaper to decorate rooms. You would follow the householder’s instructions about choice of colour, finishing texture and wallpaper patterns.

On some jobs you might apply specialist finishes such as rag rolling, graining and marbling. You would often work from ladders or raised platforms to reach ceilings.

For industrial projects, such as bridges or ships, you would remove old paintwork with abrasive blasting methods before applying new coatings using industrial paint spraying equipment. You would use a cradle or safety harness when working.

Paints and solvents give off fumes, so you may have to wear a protective mask or use fume extraction equipment on some jobs, if in enclosed spaces.

Working hours and conditions

Painters and Decorators commonly work Monday to Friday and start early because of the need to travel to jobs, weekend and evening work is sometimes necessary to complete work and meet deadlines. Some jobs may involve overnight stays away from home.


Salaries vary greatly nationally for construction operatives, with the South East being particularly attractive.

Starting salaries can be between £14,500 and £17,000 a year.

Average salaries for qualified painters and decorators are between £17,500 and £23,000 a year. Decorators with supervisor duties or specialist skills can earn over £23,000 a year.

Entry Requirements

Employers often prefer people with some relevant experience, so you could start by looking for work as a painter and decorator’s labourer or ‘mate’. Once you are working, your employer may give you the chance to take further training in painting and decorating.

Primarily the majority of careers in construction are realised through Apprenticeships. You can obtain the relevant qualifications and employment by taking an Apprenticeship scheme with a painting and decorating firm.

NSPP regularly updates our Vacancies section and list appropriate Apprenticeships within our local area.



Level 2 Diploma in Painting & Decorating  (Click here for further information)

Aimed at those not yet working in construction but may have previous experience or knowledge. The course includes a practical assessment to test the application of building methods and construction technology.

NVQ Level 2 Painting & Decorating  (Click here for further information)

For students already working in (or planning to work in) the plastering profession. This qualification is based solely on the work you do on site with examples forming the basis of your portfolio.

Some of the units you will complete are:

  • moving, handling and storing resources
  • erecting and dismantling access/working platforms
  • preparing surfaces for painting/decorating
  • applying paint system by brush and roller

NVQ Level 3 Painting & Decorating  (Click here for further information)

Designed for those already employed as painters and decorators looking for an advanced industry qualification, it involves complex skills and can be used as a pathway to assessing, supervisory and management positions.

Some of the units that you will complete are:

  • erecting and dismantling access/working platforms
  • airless spraying
  • decorative spraying
  • graining and replica marbling

If you have any questions or queries relating to our courses or learning with NSPP contact us on 01457 238014, alternatively email us at info@nspp.co.uk

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