Maile first came across a painting job on Student Job Search and having had a little painting experience while at college he thought he would give it a go. It turned out that being a full-time painter was a lot more rewarding than he thought.

The initial attraction of the job was all the hours available for work, but as Maile soon found, “when you finish a project, like painting a house, for example, and you step back and look at the end product, you actually get overwhelmingly proud – it’s an awesome feeling.”

The hardest part of the job for Maile was the 6am wake-ups; however, finishing at 3pm most days meant he had his afternoons free. There was also the option of additional hours on the weekends, and although this might seem like a disadvantage, Maile insists that it wasn’t, saying it was cool to have that option if you needed the extra money.

“I never realised before but painters are almost never out of work. The company I signed with had just taken on over 100 projects – there are always people who need something painted professionally – and so work is always available, which is a lot more than you can say about a lot of other jobs.”

Maile worked closely with the owner of the business that had employed him so he learned much of his craft from the ‘top dog’. Although painting apprenticeships are available, Maile was lucky to be mentored by the owner, who taught him all the basics and encouraged him to learn as he went.

“Murray [the boss] told me once I’d mastered the basics and had experience with different surfaces I’d be able to learn all the other little skills as I go. Though there’s still a bit more to the process than I thought, there’s actually not too much more to it than meets the eye. There’s obviously a few technical skills to learn but it’s pretty straightforward and I love that about it.”

Typically, Murray scouts the property or whatever needs painting and provides an estimate or quote. Then Maile and the other painters begin preparing the surface for painting; this includes sanding down the surfaces, filling holes and covering other blemishes.

A lot of attention to detail is required to be a good painter and it’s essential to be quite observant in this trade. Also patience is key, as sometimes painters are quite literally just waiting for paint to dry.

There’s always plenty of painting work overseas so seeing the world while getting paid is also a good option.

“For those looking to be a painter, I really recommend it,” says Maile. “It’s not physically hard labour but you still get to work with your hands and get out of the office. And the other thing is you’re decorating someone’s home – people come to you to help improve the place they’re living or working in and it feels pretty good when you can do that.”


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