Sandie Webster, 36, launched her own business straight out of college after finding her ‘calling.’
She chatted with Chief Executive of the Painting and Decorating Association (PDA), Neil Ogilvie, as part of the organisation’s ‘Careers in Colour’ campaign.
Neil visited Sandie at the home of a client in Gainsborough to chat about choosing a career in painting and decorating, as well as her experiences of being a woman in the trade.
Sandie, a married mum of two, has been running her own business for eight years and after taking part in a series of competitions during her training, is now the only female judge in the construction sector at the World Skills competition.
A former showroom designer for kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms, Sandie went back to college after staying at home with her two children.
In the eight years she has been running Sandie Webster Painting and Decorating, Sandie has tackled a wide variety of projects as well as supported trainees and apprentices in the sector.
She said: “When I took on a trainee, I looked for someone who was interested, who wanted to be there. I wanted to give someone the opportunity and show them everything I had learned.
“It’s not an easy job, so you have to have an interest in homes, painting and being creative.
“When I was at college, I felt like I’d found my calling and I would practise over and over again because I wanted it to be perfect.
“Most of my customers are female, so I think they like the idea of talking and working with a female to achieve their ideas without feeling intimidated.”
Sandie also entered competitions organised by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and the Painting and Decorating Association (PDA), becoming the first female to win the national SkillBuild competition in the painting and decorating section.
She also took part in the PDA’s Wallpaper Hanger of the Year contest and later, was invited to the organisation’s Premier Trophy Awards in London as a speaker.
In addition, last month Sandie was named as the runner up in Design and Build UK’s monthly Women in Construction awards.
Sandie is now part of the judging panel for WorldSkills as well as managing a thriving all-female business and being a member of the PDA.
She added: “It is amazing to think how far I’ve come in a few years,
“Growing up I was always around homes and home improvements – I always had an interest in houses and how they should look.
“My nan was a welder, which was inspiring, and my grandad was a carpenter, so he was always making things around the house. My dad worked as a dry liner, so I would help him sometimes at weekends.
“When I started my business straight from college I was lucky because I landed a four-month contract at a heritage house, which taught me so much about sanding, filling and finishes and gave me a chance to build up a client base.
“Every house is different and so is every client, so you have to learn how to adapt to get the best results.”