Meet our apprentices

Emily Spruce

28 October 2020

Painting and Decorating Apprentice

Emily Spruce undertook a painting and decorating apprenticeship with Y Prentis between April 2018 and September 2020. During her time with us, Emily was placed with the Melin Homes maintenance team, while studying towards her NVQ Level 2 in painting and decorating. On completing her qualification, Emily has now secured full time employment with Melin directly and is starting her career as a multi-skilled operative.

Why did you choose to take a painting and decorating apprenticeship?

I’ve always been interested in arts and I wanted a career in something creative and active, rather than being sat in an office all day. My dad is a plasterer, so I started working with him, and I really enjoyed the painting duties. I studied painting and decorating at Coleg Gwent Pontypool campus full time for a year, then I needed to find something that would allow me to earn whilst I learnt. When an opportunity came up for an apprenticeship, my tutor recommended me to Y Prentis.

I think that painters and decorators are really important to the construction industry, as well as providing the perfect finishing touches to a property. It can also be a protective measure for things like wood and walls, so the work will stay up to standard for longer.

What have you most enjoyed about your apprenticeship?

The best part of my apprenticeship has been, being sent to lots of different types of jobs and being able to learn so much. I’ve had the chance to work on voids (empty rental properties), maintenance on outdoor projects, and reactive calls from Melin residents. I most enjoy working on voids, because I get the satisfaction of completing a job from start to finish. I was given a Melin van to use, which has made my job a lot easier and I manage my own jobs and workloads now. I’ve had a lot of responsibility and trust placed in me. I would recommend taking an apprenticeship with Y Prentis to young people, your experience is so much more hands than you receive in college. You face real life issues and problems every day.

How has your apprenticeship prepared you for your career?

My apprenticeship has prepared me really well for my next steps with Melin, as well as already knowing a lot of the properties and techniques I need to use. I’ve already built relationships with the team, I know their ways of working and how to achieve the Melin Standard. I’m really looking forward to gaining more experience in my new role with Melin and one day I’d like to become self-employed and run my own business.

How do you find being a woman in construction?

I think it’s important for women to hold jobs in construction, to show that women can do anything that men can. If I could give my younger self any advice, it would be to go for it straight away – don’t wait for years because of lack of confidence. I toyed with the idea of becoming a painter for years, thinking that I couldn’t do it because I’m a girl. Now, I am better than a lot of the boys! Three years ago, I would never have thought I’d be where I am now, everything has worked out perfectly!

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