Top tips from our apprentice of the year
Daniel Holdcroft was just 16 when he called our Burton office to ask if there were any apprenticeships being offered.
Now, at the age of 18, he has been named our Apprentice of the Year, having enjoyed tremendous success and made a significant impact during his time with the company.
It was Daniel’s dad, a painter at our Stoke-on-Trent branch, who prompted that first phone call to our training manager Jackie Budden, and Daniel now looks well on his way to following in his father’s footsteps.
But decorating doesn’t always run in the family, and new apprentices come from all walks of life. Here are Daniel’s top tips to anyone thinking that a Novus apprenticeship might be for them.
Don’t be scared
“I had to have an interview and go through a number of tests before I was selected as an apprentice. We were tested on basic maths and English, and also on our teamwork skills.
“No one likes tests, but actually it was fine once I got into it, and I’m glad I didn’t turn away from the opportunity to become an apprentice just because there was some work involved at the beginning.”
“When I first started, I was working on the outside of council houses, and we also painted the classrooms in a school during the summer holidays shortly after I joined Novus.
“Those early jobs were good, but I’ve taken more satisfaction from the times when I’ve really pushed myself, such as when we stripped and repainted the windows of a country club. It was a mansion house with Georgian-style windows and vines growing up the outside.
“Standing back and looking at our work after we had finished was a great feeling.”
“Right from the start, all the apprentices got along with one another really well. It really pays off to try and get on with everyone as much as you can.
“One of the people I met during my first week entered some of the same competitions as me, and we are still mates to this day – I went over to Chester to visit him recently.”
“I have entered a few competitions since I joined the Novus apprenticeship scheme, but last May I was lucky enough to win a regional heat of the Johnstone’s Young Painter of the Year competition.
“The final was held at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry, at the Painting and Decorating Show, and there were hundreds of people walking around and watching us in the final.
“The final lasted two days, and on the second day I forgot to bring my headphones with me. As a result, I couldn’t escape having to talk to people and answer questions while I was trying to work!
“Thankfully, it all turned out well in the end and I learned a great deal from it.”
Enjoy the experience
“In my first year at Novus, some apprentices got the opportunity to travel to events in the Netherlands and Slovenia.
“At these events, we got the chance to meet with young decorators from all over the world, and we also got to learn how painting and decorating differs in other countries.
“Learning about the products and techniques used in places like Slovenia was eye-opening, and meeting other young decorators from places like Norway, Italy, Germany and Switzerland was a fantastic experience – one I’d recommend to any apprentices who get the chance.”
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