Painting the way to business growth
  • Training Provider Solvo Vir
  • Region Tees Valley
  • The challenge

    A painting and decorating business requires staff to have a varied skill set, including the ability to prepare surfaces, strong attention to detail and the ability to work safely and tidily. Interpersonal skills are also required for interpreting client requirements, work and team organisation and effective communication.

    A number of those in the industry have learned on the job, rather than through formal training, which is now proving to be a challenge as increasing numbers of customers require contractors to hold qualifications, whether it’s for a private or commercial project.

    This client demand, along with a business objective to expand into commercial projects, was what motivated Adam Featherstone Decorating Services in Middlesbrough to explore the opportunities for skills training.

    As a sole trader, Adam was keen to develop his skills to suit a more commercial environment. The Level 2 NVQ, completed through Skills Support for the Workforce, was the first step in this process.

    The solution

    Adam approached the Skills Support for the Workforce (SSW) project to explore the training opportunities available. As a small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) seeking non-compulsory, work-based training to support business growth plans, his business was eligible to apply to the SSW programme, which offers fully-funded training courses to employees.

    The programme, co-financed through the European Union’s European Social Fund (ESF) and the Education and Skills Funding Agency, arranged for a skills analysis session to be conducted by Solvo Vir, one of the registered training providers for Calderdale College, which oversees the delivery of the SSW programme.

    Following the analysis session, a tailored training programme was put in place to improve the skills and knowledge of business owner Adam in order to gain a new qualification and allow the business to take the next step towards growth.

    Adam was enrolled on a Level 2 NVQ in Decorative Finishing and Industrial Painting Occupations, which, when complete, enabled him to apply for a Blue Skilled Worker CSCS card, a requirement for every person working on a construction site.

    The NVQ was completed around the requirements of the business over a 6-month period and consisted of a range of face-to-face training and independent learning.

    Adam Featherstone commented: “Since completing the course I’ve worked on more commercial rather than domestic projects and plan to make this a focus for my business in the future. I have also applied for a Skilled Worker Card, which means I can start to bid for work on large-scale construction sites.

    “The way the training was conducted was brilliant. It fit around my work and the way I manage my time really well and the training provider made enrolling simple and straight-forward. I’ve now got a new set of skills that support my business goals and I’m looking at further training to expand on that.”


    Having completed the Level 2 NVQ in Decorative Finishing and Industrial Painting Occupations, Adam has gained skills in dismantling and erecting working/access platforms, surface preparation and the application of paint systems by roller or brush in the workplace.

    Adam is now looking to the future, which includes further training courses such as a Level 3 NVQ in painting and decorating, a spraying qualification and a proxy floor raising course.

    Fully Funded Training

    Ebrahim Dockrat, External Funding Director of Calderdale College, the main contractor for Skills Support for the Workforce, highlighted the benefits of the project: “As the training is funded with European money, this is the last project of its kind and it’s only available until March 2019, so it’s a case of get it while you still can.

    “There is a wide range of flexible, bespoke training plans designed to help businesses grow and staff to develop. By training your staff, you can improve your ability to adapt to a rapidly changing business environment, nurture a leadership team for the future and make you an employer of choice for emerging talent.”

    For more information on the Skills Support for the Workforce project and to see if your business is eligible for fully-funded training, please visit

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