Jodie’s Story

Jodie Robbins lives in Leeds and has studied painting and decorating level 1 at Leeds College of Building. She was awarded a £100 bursary from WEST in 2013.

What did you want to do for a job when you were a girl?
I wanted to be a mechanic. I always preferred practical stuff rather than theory. I never wanted to work in an office.

How did you get into painting and decorating?
I was working on building sites as a cleaner but work ran out. I knew I wanted to create a career for myself, and when I went to the job centre they told me about the course. I always enjoyed painting and decorating in my own house and for friends, so it can be a job I want to do.

How many other women were there doing the painting and decorating course?
There were two other women on my course, but you get treated exactly the same and people just get on with it.

What’s next
I am a single mother on benefits but I want to start my own decorating business. I’ve finished my level 1 now. Because of my childcare situation, I am going to have a year getting experience and setting myself up doing painting and decorating. Then next year when my daughter is in nursery I can go back to college and do level 2.

What did you think when you were got the WEST bursary?
I was really shocked. I couldn’t believe it. It’s really encouraged me. I’ve got some of the things I need to get started on my own like multi-rail ladders, and professional brushes and rollers.

What advice would you give any other girls thinking of training in painting and decorating ?
I would say go for it! I thought it was going to be just 16 and 17 year old lads. I’m nearly 30 and I didn’t want to be the oldest person there. But it’s not like that. Don’t be put off it you are a bit older or female – there are lots of other people in the same position wanting to do it.