Inside The Dulux Academy (Part Four)

Inside The Dulux Academy (Part Four)

In the fourth instalment of this series, Professional Builder attended a half-day course at the Dulux Academy on Water-Borne Application.

Before we get started, attendees are offered coffee, bacon rolls and a selection of doughnuts. At the same time, trade and painting professionals get a chance to chat to others in the industry, who are taking different Dulux Academy courses that same day – giving them a great opportunity to share experiences and knowledge in a relaxed environment.

After we split into our individual groups, we are introduced to Matt, our trainer for the day. With over 29 years of experience on the tools and specialising in special effects, Matt’s passion for what he does is clear to see. He takes us through the basics of health and safety for the day and explains that the course will be split into two clear sections: theory and application.

Initially, Matt asks the attendees of their experience with water-borne paint and discusses why professionals should look to switch to these products. With quicker drying times, lower VOCs and reduced odour, the benefits to appliers are clear.

Matt impresses on us the importance of thorough preparation. Whilst preparation is the key starting point for any painting job, it is even more important to take additional care when applying water-borne paint.

We then move onto application techniques. The quick-drying properties of water-borne paint mean that different techniques are required compared to standard oil-based paints. To achieve the desired finish – no brush marks and an even gloss – Matt stresses a little mantra to remember: lay it on, lay it off and leave it alone.

After the initial theory session, it’s then into one of two purpose-built practical and demonstration areas.

The session is split into four application sessions:

    •    Painting a door panel without any tuition
    •    Painting a door panel after practical tuition
    •    Painting a door frame
    •    Painting a flat, horizontal surface

Throughout the application process, Matt encourages attendees to make mistakes. Whilst making errors on a job is something all professionals wish to avoid, they are also a crucial learning experience. For Matt, the Dulux Academy is the ideal place to make them and then learn from them.

Practical courses at the Dulux Academy are aimed at decorators at all skill levels – from experienced professionals to those new to the industry. The curriculum is also designed to encourage questions, which not only helps put attendees at ease, but also allows the trainers to dedicate time to each person and provide a more hands-on experience.

What did the attendees think?

Having previously worked as a graphic designer, self-employed Plinio Ghellere switched careers to become a painter and decorator 13 years ago. With a reputation for quality and a creative eye for colour, Plinio wanted to expand his skillset so he could extend his range of services to customers.

“I’ve found today’s course to be very useful. I don’t have a huge amount of experience working with water-borne paint so I wanted to become more proficient in its application. Matt has been a great help, and the tips and tricks he has shared with us has meant the course has definitely been worth investing in. I will definitely be looking to put the skills I learnt today into practice.”

Andrew Mills of DoubleTree by Hilton has attended several courses at the Dulux Academy and plans to attend more in the future.

“Today, like all the courses I’ve attended at the Dulux Academy, was really first rate. Not only has it been fascinating to learn different techniques and methods, but the way the courses are taught help professionals to apply these skills once we’re back to work. I’m looking forward to returning to the Academy next month to take part in the ‘Perfect Preparation’ course.”

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