We spoke to Alex Sinistsky, a Brisbane painter who is carrying on the family tradition:

My Dad was a painter, so my career was pretty much chosen for me. He wanted me to continue the family tradition because his father was also a painter.

I started out doing a CSQ funded school-based apprenticeship when I was 16 years old. I worked 2 days on site and 3 days at school. Back then an apprenticeship took 5 years, so completing my first year while still at school basically knocked a year off for me.

I did my apprenticeship with Dad, which was testing at times. I guess you could say I got a lot of training other apprentices never got! It stood me in good stead though. There was lots of work so Dad gave me my own crew to run when I was a second year apprentice.

I couldn’t see myself doing anything else. Like any job, some days are a pain and some days bring you real satisfaction. The best part is when you get to the end of a job and you walk away knowing your skills have really made a difference.

Last year I took over the business from Dad and now I run two crews; one is booked out until the end of the year and the other is booked out for the next four months. We have plenty of work on at the moment so we’re making the most of it.

I’ve got real respect for people who do time in a trade. Anyone can say they’re a painter but when it comes down to it there aren’t that many of us who are properly trained.

It’s surprisingly difficult to find good people. I can usually tell within the first hour if they have what it takes.

I’ve only taken on two people out of the last 20 I’ve trialled. They have a great attitude, they show up earlier than I do every day, they’re keen and reliable. I’ve just started one of them as an apprentice, the first we’ve taken on in 6 years. She has a fine arts degree so is probably the most over qualified painter in Brisbane.

I think there needs to be more rigour around accreditation for painting, to help to restore some pride in our industry. And it would help us to lift our prices.

My advice for anyone considering a career as a painter? Do it properly, it’s a skilled trade so do your time. You’ve really got to love painting from the outset.

E and A Painting Solutions