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Painter and Decorator
Painters and decorators in the building industry are dedicated to achieving two main objectives - to provide the final finishes to buildings and to protect surfaces from dirt and damp.

Modern builders can consider painters and decorators to be among their most valued employees. This trade offers a wide spectrum of job opportunities to someone with an artistic inclination.

Painters and decorators put the finishing touches to new buildings, but are also called upon from time to time, to work on existing homes, offices, shops or public buildings that have to be renovated or redecorated. Painters are virtually the last people on site, which means that the actual finish of the building on which they are working is entirely in their hands. As a result, they must be craftsmen of the highest calibre, for they can either spoil or perfect the work of all the other trades that preceded them.

Painters and decorators paint, varnish or stain the indoor and outdoor walls, roofs, doors and window frames of buildings. They measure surfaces to be treated and determine quantities of the materials needed. They prepare surfaces by sanding, scraping or burning away old coverings (sometimes special chemicals need to be used) and fill nail holes, cracks or other problem areas with plaster, putty or other compounds. After applying a primer or sealer coat, they mix paints and match colours and then apply the paint or other coating evenly to the surface.

Painter and decorators may use rollers or spray guns rather than brushes, as these tools allow paint to dry more quickly. They also put up scaffolding or use swinging chairs when working on high buildings or other structures.

Satisfying Aspects
- working without direct supervision
- working with your hands
- being able to take pride in your work

Demanding aspects
- possibility of injury and accidents on the job
- the physical demands of bending, lifting and climbing
- being laid off when the building industry is in a slump
- sometimes having to work overtime on holidays and weekends to get a job finished

A painter and decorator should:
- be at least 16 years old;
- be neat and well organised;
- have good colour sense;
- enjoy working with his hands;
- have numerical aptitude for finalising estimates;
- have some artistic flair;
- have manual dexterity;
- have good eye-hand coordination;
- be in good health and have stamina.

School Subjects
Grade 9 Certificate.
Grade 10 Certificate or N1 is recommended.

Compulsory Subjects: Mathematics
Recommended Subjects: Civil Technology

There are three ways to qualify as a registered artisan:

1. An apprenticeship is a 4-year contract between company and apprentice, comprising a 12-week theoretical training, which includes 4 subjects at national exam level.

2. A learnership is a structured learning programme that leads to a qualification in a certain field. The learnership programme includes a theoretical and a practical component. It usually takes about a year to complete. The training takes place on-site (on the premises of the organisation). This has the advantage that the learner gets on-the-job experience whilst training.

3. FET colleges offer theoretical training to prospective artisans via the new National Certificate Vocational (NCV). During this 3-year programme (levels 2 to 4), learners complete a school-leaving certificate (this NCV) similar to the
new National Senior Certificate (NSC) in schools. They are also exposed to a practical workshop component.

All learners are required to complete a practical internship under the supervision of an experienced artisan. As an alternative to doing the full qualification, a learner can apply to do a skills programme at a FET College. Skills programmes are short practical hands-on courses.

For more information about qualifications and skills programmes, contact your nearest FET College. FET Colleges are accredited and funded by a SETA (Sector Education and Training Authority) such as MERSETA or CHIETA. They also receive bursary funding through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) for the NCV programme.

Learners must all receive training in occupational safety and first aid, fire-fighting and preventative security measures. Learners study everything about the installation, maintenance and repair of all electrical equipment. They must also become familiar with municipal legislation relevant to electricity supply and consumption.

- Trade, building or general contractors
- Government concerns
- Businesses that do their own construction and alteration work
- Restoration and renovation companies
- Private homeowners
- Self-employment, with the necessary experience can practise this trade on a private basis or start own business