Painter & Decorator


Painters and decorators apply decorative and protective finishes to the interior and exterior walls, doors, windows and other surfaces of buildings.

Tasks and Duties:

  • discusses the requirements with the customer and/or builder
  • calculates the materials required
  • measures surfaces to be able to quote a price for the work
  • may select and purchase materials
  • removes old paint and wallpaper
  • repairs cracks and damage to surfaces
  • cleans and prepares surfaces
  • may mix and match paint colours
  • applies paint using a variety of decorative methods
  • hangs wall coverings such as wallpaper or vinyl


Painters and decorators need to have good communication skills to be able to find out what their clients need and to avoid making costly mistakes. As well as being skilled in painting and decorating techniques, they need to have planning and organisational ability, and good calculation and problem-solving skills.


Painters and decorators need to know about paints and wall coverings, preparation of work surfaces, and painting methods. They must also know how to use and take care of their equipment and they should know about health and safety precautions. They need a knowledge of basic maths to calculate the costs of decorating.

Personal Qualities:

Painters and decorators need to be practical, quick and accurate, reliable in order to do their work efficiently, focused and able to concentrate, punctual, honest and responsible, neat and tidy and able to work as part of a team.
They also need to have a good sense of colour.

Physical Requirements:

Painters and decorators need to have good eyesight (with or without glasses), and good hand-eye co-ordination. They also need to be fit and have a strong back and knees, as their work involves moving items like furniture and scaffolding. Painters and decorators may work on high structures and need to dress tidily.

Educational Requirements:

Three years secondary school education is recommended with NCEA Level 1 in English, maths, science and graphics.
Apprentices attend block courses and on completion of the required unit standards gain a National Certificate in Painting and Decorating.

Entry Requirements:

    • A current drivers license is generally required.
    • Useful Experience
    • Being a hammer hand or brush hand, labouring on building sites, working in a paint shop.
    • Training on the job
    • Apprentices learn their skills on the job and attend block course.
    • Work Places
    • Painters work in a range of places, doing both interior and exterior work.

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