Continued professional development is about understanding that you are only as good as your last course. I realise it’s quite a statement that will be highly challenging for some decorators. You’ve been in this trade for 20-plus years, and there’s nothing you don’t know about decorating. But remember, Blockbuster once thought they knew it all, and there’s no way their industry would change. But it did happen, and Blockbuster are no more.
The reality of business
The reality of business is that things change, and if you don’t change with them, you’ll be left behind. We have had to do this, and so should you.
We’ve been training decorators for six years in March, starting with our solo course ‘Introduction to spraying’. Imagine if we stayed there; how do you think a company run by decorators and college tutors would have fared? We knew the benefit of spray painting; we’d been doing it for over ten years and were confident that our introduction course would solve many issues. But we got to where we are today through serious, continued professional development.
2022 was our biggest year to date, offering courses from ‘Intensive Airless spraying’, Kitchen & furniture on-site spraying, Airless spray plaster, and then moving into offering a range of paper hanging courses and lots more that can be seen on our courses page, for those ready to book can see course dates here. But 2023 is due to be even bigger.
£5000 per year of free funding
CITB’s offer to you is that they will give you £2500 or £5000 in funding every year to go towards your continued professional development, money which you’re entitled to and free to spend. Our job is to give you the courses to do that. CITB can see courses that would benefit you as a decorator, joiner or multi-trade with courses that will enhance your ability to get bigger and better jobs that make more money. To do that, we needed to develop our skills, not necessarily in what to do but in how to deliver it. This was part of why Ian headed to America back in June.
2023 for us is helping those new to spraying to develop their spray painting skills and start on their continued professional development, paid for by CITB, and it’s helping our existing students come back and invest their free funding in new courses like our Worktop refurbishment course to take their business to the next level. So, we created several new courses.
Estimating for Painting & Decorating.
Although this ran in 2022, it’s something that we had planned to push more in 2023. The main reason for this is because the feedback we have had from students so far is that this course is a game changer and lays the foundations for a more profitable business! Where other spray academies can only teach you the basics of spraying, we teach you how to make money from spraying. Knowing is one thing, but you’re an intelligent nobody without the skills needed to generate income.
Venetian plaster has been around for many years; it’s not new. Ian, one of the PaintTech directors, travelled all over the world on Venetian plaster projects, including the Middle East, so this is an exciting course for us because we get to show you a range of finishes that can make you good money. Venetian plaster is searched 12,100 times across Google. Why wouldn’t you want a slice of that pie? Over the course, you will understand and create a range of different finishes and produce samples you can use to market this new skill to potential clients immediately.
This is a fantastic course for those that already offer painting kitchens to their clients. Clients often don’t want the expense or upheaval of replacing their worktops, so why not offer a service to paint them with a granite-type effect using the Hawk Labs StoneFlecks system or a faux marble using epoxy resin? This 3-day course runs through both systems and gives you the tools you need to offer this to your clients as an additional service. For most decorators, this is the perfect cross-sell, allowing them to go back to all kitchen clients from years past offering this service. Your sales in 2023 just went up.
This is a new range of courses that we were asked to look at by CITB as it’s an area that they are focussed on for 2023. This is probably because it’s a weakness in the industry, so it is a perfect time to add these skills to your business whilst the funding is there. If you are currently working on larger projects or an area that you are looking to go into, then these Project Management courses are perfect. When you submit tenders or quotes for larger projects, then highlighting this training could win you the project over a competitor. Take a look at the Project Management Introduction and Intermediate courses, which will enable you to look at the smaller advanced modules coming soon.
Water-Based Finishes Introduction
This course was borne out of the frustration that although decorators work with paint, they don’t know enough about it and should. We felt that a decorator should know more about paint than anyone and should be the one educating clients. Many are still stuck in the dark ages using oil or solvent-based products, thinking water-based is not “good enough”. This really is not the case, and water-based products have advanced hugely over the past few years. We look at the advantages and disadvantages of water-based paints; we look at the likes of solids, coverage and sheen levels when spraying v’s brush and roller so students can see the difference. This is only a 1-day course, so it is a great one to use up the last of your funding and learn lots at the same time.
Introduction to Marbling Techniques
This course is another that has taken Ian all over the world, working on some fantastic projects. A lot don’t know, but he trained as a decorative artist originally and has trained with some of the greats, such as Don Grey and Bill Holgate, who are sadly no longer with us. Pete, another of the PaintTech directors, taught marbling in college for many years, so this is another course we are well-placed to teach and is fully funded by CITB. This course will introduce you to marbling techniques, and at the end of the course, you will have produced sample boards that you can take away and work with.
Towards the end of the year, we intend to open up courses on ‘Broken Colour Effects’, ‘Production and use of multiplate stencils’, ‘Advanced applying printed murals’, ‘Gilding by transfer’, and ‘Gilding by loose leaf’. If you would like to know more about these courses, please submit your interest, and we can let you know when we have dates.
The future for decorators.
You may wonder why we’re pushing continued professional development for decorators, and you may think that it doesn’t apply to you. But whether you’re a newly established sole trader or an experienced decorator, continued learning is essential.
We’re seeing a considerable rise in previously employed people becoming decorators with little or no experience. Times are tough, and people need to seek employment where they can and decorating is seen as an easy-to-do trade. Some will succeed and grow a fantastic business, while others will forever be those that base their business on undercutting other, more established businesses, your business. You stick a quote in, and they promise to do it cheaper. I can feel you nodding along.
So how do you compete? If you can’t go cheaper, and you shouldn’t, how do you win jobs for a higher price?
Experience is the one thing we can’t give. Only time on the tools can do that, but where experience is hard to show for those new to either decorating or delivering that product, training is a perfect substitute. Training with Painttech Training Academy, with or without CITB funding, will set you above your competition, especially those new to decorating. So now it’s done to exposure. The Decorators Growth Club can help teach you how to do it right, but our courses provide the basics. If you market your experience and your training on your socials, it’s easy to demonstrate why/how you are different from those having a go or those with less experience. Our courses provide a perfect platform to get hundreds of selfies and showcase what you’ve learnt and can do.
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