Occupational profile - painting and decorating

Information on apprenticeships in the construction crafts (painting and decorating) industry, including what’s involved, skills and knowledge needed and progression routes for apprentices.

Painting and decorating

Painting and decorating involves carrying out advanced skilled work.

The level 3 painter and decorator can do complex job tasks, requiring high levels of practical skills and knowledge, as well as managing their own work and leading small teams.

The main differences between a level 2 painter and decorator are that the level 3 painter and decorator has responsibility for managing their own and other people’s work, as well as being required to complete complex and non-standard work.

This apprenticeship involves completing mandatory and optional units.

Painters work on domestic, commercial or industrial premises, to given specifications.

The work can range from redecorating homes or offices to applying heavy-duty finishes to structures like bridges.

The job role will involve:

  • measuring surface areas and working out how much paint or wall covering is needed
  • preparing materials
  • stripping off old wallpaper or layers of paint
  • filling holes and cracks and making sure surfaces are level
  • covering surfaces with primer and undercoat
  • mixing paint to the right shade, often using computerised colour-matching equipment
  • applying coats of paint
  • hanging wallpaper
  • adding special finishes like glazes or marbling
  • tidying up after finishing
  • cleaning tools and equipment

On industrial jobs, painters will use abrasive methods like sandblasting to remove old paintwork and apply finishes with spray-painting equipment.

Painters and decorators need to:

  • work safely and be aware of key health, safety and welfare issues
  • plan and carry out their work to commercial standards of quality and speed
  • move, handle and store resources, complying with relevant legislation and guidance
  • interpret and follow verbal and written work instructions from trade supervisors and site managers
  • select the required materials and resources to carry out the work
  • install related materials and components as appropriate to the specification
  • use maintain and store hand tools, power tools and associated equipment
  • access, interpret and use drawings and specifications to carry out their work

Skills and knowledge needed

On completion of this apprenticeship, level 3 painters and decorators will have the same occupational skills as a level 2 painter and decorator but will also be able to understand the technical principles of advanced painting and decorating and to use a range of advanced trade skills which allow them to carry out complex work to highly skilled standards and tolerances.

National occupational standards (NOS)

Every framework must be underpinned by national occupational standards (NOS) which will set out the standards of performance you must achieve when carrying out functions in the workplace, together with specifications of the underpinning knowledge and understanding.

Behaviours may be detailed within or alongside the NOS.

Core NOS

Unique registration number (URN) Title of the occupational standard

VR209

Confirm work activities and resources for the work

VR210

Develop and maintain good working relationships

VR211

Confirm the occupational method of work

VR250

Erect and dismantle access/working platforms

VR332

Apply paint systems by brush and roller

VR333

Prepare surfaces for painting/decorating

VR641

Conform to general workplace health, safety and welfare

Available NOS

Unique registration number (URN) Title of the occupational standard

VR336

Hang wall coverings (standard papers)

VR337

Hang wide-width vinyls

VR348

Apply metal leaf to surfaces

VR340

Apply coatings by the air spray method

VR339

Apply coatings by the airless spray method

VR342

Produce and apply complex stencil designs

VR343

Hang wall coverings to complex surfaces

VR346

Hang wall coverings (specialised papers)

VR347

Produce comb textured finishes

VR646

Install coving and decorative mouldings

VR647

Apply coatings to produce textured finishes

VR648

Produce broken colour effects

VR649

Produce stencil designs using pre-cut stencil plates

VR650

Produce straight grained effects

VR651

Produce quality replica grained finishes

VR652

Produce marbling effects

VR653

Produce quality replica marble finishes

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