Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Tom Tooher from Defence Forces to give some advice for people considering this job:


Tom Tooher

Lieutenant - Army

Defence Forces

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  Tom Tooher

Look up the Defence Forces website at and talk to serving personnel. If its possible try to visit a barracks.


Not surprisingly, some aspect of the natural sciences will run through the Naturalists interests - from ecological awareness to nutrition and health. People with an interest in horticulture, land usage and farming (including fish) are Naturalists.

Some Naturalists focus on animals rather than plants, and may enjoy working with, training, caring for, or simply herding them. Other Naturalists will prefer working with the end result of nature's produce - the food produced from plants and animals. Naturalists like solving problems with solutions that show some sensitivity to the environmental impact of what they do. They like to see practical results, and prefer action to talking and discussing.
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Painter / Decorator
In Summary header image

Painter / Decorator

Painter and Decorators apply paint coatings, wall coverings and other materials internally and externally for decorative and preservation purposes. This can be to walls/surfaces in private dwellings and in commercial/industrial locations or other structures.

Fergal Feehely, Qualified Painter & Decorator, Fergal Feehely Ltd.

Painters and Decorators can also be involved in the designing and producing of sign work and displays; and advice on colour selection and interior design. Painter and Decorators are usually employed by building or painting contractors or may be self-employed.

Painter and Decorators require many skills including:

  • Working with a variety of specialised hand and power tools
  • Being aware of how colours, textures and shapes are used in design
  • Knowledge of renovation, preservation and restoration
  • Performing a range of painting techniques
  • Application of wall hangings to a wide variety of situations
  • Designing and producing sign work and displays
  • Advising on colour selection and interior design

Training header image

Phase 1: With Employer

Induction Training Introduction to Health & Safety Introduction to Tools & Equipment Introduction to Basic Skills

Phase 2: Delivered in Training Centre (20 week)

Course Content:
  • Induction
  • Recoating Surfaces & Signwork
  • Surface Preparation
  • Imitative & Decorative Arts
  • Wallcoverings

Phase 3: With Employer

Work Based Training and Assessments

Phase 4: Delivered in Educational Colleges (10 weeks) Course Content:
  • Signwork
  • Wallcoverings
  • Imitative & Decorative Arts
  • Paint Spraying & Equipment

Phase 5: With Employer

Work Based Training and Assessments

Phase 6: Delivered in Educational Colleges (10 weeks)
Course Content:

  • Airless Spraying
  • Signwork
  • Imitative & Decorative Arts
  • Wallcoverings

Phase 7: With Employer

Work Based Training and Assessments

The overall duration of this apprenticeship is a minimum of 4 years provided all phases are successfully completed.

On successful completion of the programme the learner is awarded a Level 6 Advanced Certificate Craft – Painting & Decorating.

Personal Qualities header image

As a Painter and Decorator you will need to be physically active and to be able to work with your hands.

An awareness of health and safety and good housekeeping is essential as well as attention to detail and an eye for the aesthetic.

The Painter and Decorator must have the ability to:

  • Plan and organise
  • Communicate effectively
  • Solve problems
  • Work independently and as part of a team
  • Show a positive attitude
  • Recognise the need for good customer relations
  • Demonstrate good work practices including time keeping, tidiness, responsibility, quality awareness and safety awareness
If you suffer from an allergy or skin complaint, the chemicals that you use may affect you.

Work Activities header image

  • Learning and developing new practical craft-related skills, knowledge and competence
  • Working with and learning from experienced craftspersons
  • Seeing a job through from start to finish
  • Comply with Health and Safety requirements
  • Working indoors and outdoors
  • Accuracy and attention to detail measuring and calculating quantities and areas
  • Being well organised and careful with practical tasks
  • Working at heights
  • Lifting or carrying heavy items
  • Taking responsibility for own learning, including the allocation of study time
  • Working at a variety of locations - can be residential homes, industrial units or commercial situations
  • Being physically active
  • Passing all your phase exams (theory, practicals skills demonstration)
  • Earning as you learn

Pay & Fees header image

Funding Arrangements

All apprentices are paid a Training Allowance while attending off-the-job training in training centres or college, and an Apprentice Rate of pay during the on-the-job phases of their apprenticeship.

Details of the Training Allowances payable are available here.

What apprentice rate wages are paid?

Apprentice rates are paid for the on-the-job phases of apprenticeships. The actual rates paid may vary depending on the occupation and employer. Generally, the rates will increase in a number of steps during the apprenticeship. For example:


All other Trades




€ / hr

€ / hr

1st Year Rate

2nd Year Rate

3rd Year Rate

4th Year Rate









Note: You should always seek details of specific rates of pay for apprentices from prospective employers.

Apprentice Student Contribution

The Annual Student Contribution is levied on students attending Higher Education Institutions including Institutes of Technology. As part of the changes included in Budget 2014, apprentices now pay the same contribution as full time students, but their contribution is based on the time they spend in the Institute or College.

The Student Contribution is payable to the IoT /College on the date of registration for the training phase. You should consult the relevant IoT/College for details of payment options.

Note: Apprentices are required to pay an examination fee to the IoT or College for repeat exams. 

Female Apprentices' bursary for employers

To promote the entry of women into the designated apprenticeships, a bursary is available to employers to encourage an increased level of recruitment of female apprentices.

For more information Click here or contact your local ETB Training Centre.

Entry Requirements header image

The minimum age at which the employment of an apprentice may commence is 16 years of age. 
The minimum educational requirements are: 
1. Grade D in fi ve subjects in the Department of Education & Skills Junior Certificate Examination or an approved equivalent,
2. The successful completion of an approved Pre-Apprenticeship course 
3. Three years’ work experience gained over sixteen years of age in a relevant designated industrial activity as SOLAS shall deem acceptable 

Note: These are the current approved minimum educational requirements for apprenticeship programmes, however, previous experience of the following subjects would be an advantage but not essential:

  • Art
  • Technical Drawing/Graphics
  • Construction Studies
  • Technology

Getting an Apprenticeship header image

You must obtain employment as an apprentice in your chosen occupation.

  • The employer must be approved to train apprentices.
  • The employer must register you as an apprentice within two weeks of recruitment.
Note: Painting & Decorating Apprenticeship applicants are required to pass a colour vision test approved by SOLAS.

Are you interested in a construction apprenticeship?
If so, register your interest by creating an account and uploading a short personal profile via this link.

Career Opportunities header image

On successful completion of the apprenticeship programme, apprentices are qualified to work within the recognised trade or profession. 

Where apprentices and craftspersons have the necessary ability, initiative and basic qualifications, opportunities are available for advancement. These include advanced technology courses and management courses which are available in Institutes of Technology, Schools of Management and Professional Institutes.

Many craftspersons use their apprenticeship qualification as a platform to launch careers such as engineers, managers, owners of businesses, teachers and instructors amongst others.

For those with a desire to advance, career progrssion options include:

  • Interior Design 
  • Sign Maker 
  • Starting your own business 

Occupation Profile header image

Information to follow...

Progression Routes header image

Information to follow...

Occupation Data

Painter / Decorator

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