Martin Reynolds and Darren Holden joined New College Durham as mature students to study our painting and decorating course.
“As a mature student, I found it easier to build relationships with my tutors, I was always made to feel comfortable. No question was a daft question! It was refreshing to know that the support at NCD did not end once I completed the course.”
Both Martin and Darren enthused about the quality of the painting and decorating workshops at NCD. Martin continued:
“New College continually invests in state-of-the-art and modern equipment to ensure the workshops are up to date, such as airless spray systems. The campus and facilities available were always first class, clean and tidy and a light, comfortable environment allowing us to focus on learning, especially after we returned to campus after the lockdowns during the pandemic.”
Martin always wanted to set up his own business before studying at NCD. He took to redecorating his own property during the pandemic and found it relieved his stress and gave him a sense of achievement.
“It was at this point that I decided this was the right change of career for me so began researching the best way to make it a reality. I wanted to gain a professional qualification and one thing that has stayed with me since studying at NCD is something that can’t be taught but has been nurtured by my tutors and the positive support and feedback I received from my tutors – my confidence – knowing I am able to complete a job to a high standard for our clients.”
Martin made the decision to hire an apprentice with NCD as an investment for the future, the new recruit would be able to grow with the business and have the same high-quality training at NCD, Martin continued:
“The decision to hire an apprentice and to choose NCD for the training were both easy decisions to make. Though bold in some eyes, we were excited about hiring an apprentice at the start of their journey as NCD would provide them with the fundamental skills required for the job, and we could help to mould them to fit in with our needs and expectations at ReNew.”
Martin hired his niece, Abi Howlett, after she did some work experience with ReNew in 2021. Abi demonstrated her creative side and an attention to detail that proved her worth as a decorator.
“It has been an absolute pleasure to watch Abi grow in confidence as she has developed her skills. She was selected to represent New College Durham in the Inter-College Decorating competition and it was amazing to see her get over her nerves and compete to be awarded third place. We’re excited for even better things to come!”
Abi is over a year into her apprenticeship, she said:
“My tutors are friendly and helpful, the support is fantastic. I really enjoyed practicing for competing in the inter-college competition and learning painting techniques.”
As the reputation of Martin’s start-up grows, he hopes to also see further growth within his team. With the increasing popularity of spray painting, Darren and Abi have enrolled on an independent course with Painttech Academy to allow the team to respond to the increasing demand.
The ReNew team had the privilege of working on the dining room of a beautiful period property in Sunderland which involved papering the ceiling in an anaglypta paper, and painting the walls in a two tone colour scheme, Martin reminisced:
“We uncovered some stunning details in the intricate ceiling rose and cornice that had been covered over years of painting over a poultice of glue, sand and ash. The detail has been lost and unseen for decades.”
Martin remembers his first major full property makeover for a house in Whitley Bay. Redecorating the whole house was a big task but the team were given some freedom to explore their creativity as the homeowners wanted each room to be unique in design.
“Every time we completed a room in the house, we fell in love with it. It is possibly still the project I have enjoyed the most, followed by finally completing my own kitchen at home after weeks of renovating, re-tiling, and respraying to create a bespoke kitchen with and island and floods of natural light.”
Martin has stayed in touch with the painting and decorating tutors at NCD, he said:
“After leaving the college, the team at NCD still show a genuine interest in the projects we are working on and have been fantastic when I have needed a sounding board for the best method to complete a new job before commencing work. We are keen to help and repay the college in anyway we can.”
ReNew give back by donating paint to NCD’s workshops and offering their time to chat to current students about the progression opportunities available. They will also be involved in the rollout of training in airless spray technologies.