As part of our participation with National Skills Week 2017 we are running “Meet the Trainer” interviews. These will be posted throughout the week and have been conducted with various industry specialists. You will be able to read about their journey from Apprentice to Trainer.
The next of our interviews is with Sharlene Kidd – Painting and Decorating Trainer with MPA Skills.
Q. What first got you interested in wanting to do an apprenticeship?
The thing that got me interested in doing an apprenticeship was the fact that you get paid to learn on the job and the learning is a hands on approach which is the way I learn the best. An apprenticeship was my personal option as going to University didn’t interest me at all.
Q. When did you first start your apprenticeship/which qualification?
I first started my apprenticeship in 2011 in Painting and Decorating.
Q. How long were you working at your chosen trade?
I been working in my trade since 2011, I completed my apprenticeship in 2015 which I then worked as a Supervisor for the company I had been working for as an apprentice. I then started my own business which I still continue to run in-between working as a full time painting and decorating trainer at MPA Skills.
Q. Is there anything you would tell your younger self that you know now?
Never doubt yourself, all that hard work does pay off although it doesn’t feel like it will at the time.
Q. When did you start your current role?
I started working in my current role on a casual basis 2016 and became a full time trainer mid 2017.
Q. Why the transition to your current role?
During my apprenticeship I competed in numerous competitions up to an international level. I had learnt so much from so many different people during that time, I also absolutely enjoy teaching other apprentices new skills and giving back to the industry that gave me such big opportunities. Becoming a trainer has allowed me to pass these skills on to others.
Q. What’s a typical work week involve?
A typical work week involves try a Trade on a Monday and Tuesday where I show school students in year’s 9 and 10 new skills and give them a taste of what the painting and decorating industry is all about. Wednesdays are when I train apprentices that are in for block training, Thursdays and Friday’s I train a certificate II pre-apprenticeship to school based students from both North and South of the river. Saturdays are when I undertake any private work coming from my business.
Q. What is the most challenging aspect of your role?
Breaking barriers with new groups that I haven’t trained before and delivering unfamiliar course ware.
Q. What about the greatest joy?
When I see a student or apprentice struggling with painting and getting frustrated with painting and I then show them a painting technique that helps them. The smile on their face from once being frustrated and hating painting to them saying I can do it Sharlene with the biggest smile on their face along with now enjoying painting is the greatest joy.
Q. What’s the one thing you learned as an apprentice that you transfer to every apprentice you work with?
It’s OK to make mistakes, that’s why we are apprentices and we are still learning. Take in any advice given, ask questions and always try different techniques that you can adapt to make it unique to you and your style of painting.
Q. What would you like to achieve in your role?
I would like to pass on everything I’ve learnt in Painting to others to have better quality painting trades in the industry and to encourage more females to do any trade they like.
Our thanks go to Sharlene for taking time out of her busy day to participate in our interviews for #National Skills Week.
For further information about a career as a Painter and Decorator you can contact MPA Skills at
Dani Kassab is a 4th year plumbing apprentice with MPA Skills who has had the benefit of working in many areas of the construction industry including Commercial, Domestic and New Build whilst being mentored by Dom Mattarocchia, MPA Skills Plumbing Field Officer.
Dani is currently assisting at Careers Expos with Bethany Headen, MPA Skills Schools Program Coordinator.