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Traineeship leads to new career for Ryan

19 year old Ryan Dodds from Gateshead is starting an apprenticeship in painting and decorating with a North East business, having gained skills and experience through a traineeship. Here’s his story.

Ryan wasn’t in employment when he began his seven week traineeship in painting and decorating, organised by Gateshead Council’s learningSkills, which offers traineeships in a range of sectors for young people aged 16 to 24.

A traineeship is a programme designed to give learners the skills and confidence they need to progress into work with training, which is commonly an apprenticeship. They can last from six weeks to one year, although most traineeships last for less than six months and are an opportunity to complete a high quality work placement, increase confidence and work readiness, and work towards achieving English and maths qualifications if needed, along with studying for qualifications up to an including Level 3 vocational training.

Having completed the traineeship, he’s now working towards a level two apprenticeship with Shaun Matthias Ltd, which was founded in 1993 and carries out commercial, industrial and domestic decorating across the UK.

“When I came to learningSkills I wasn't sure if I wanted to work in painting and decorating,” said Ryan. “My traineeship work experience helped me learn new skills such as marbling and graining and made me realise it was something I would like to make my career. I've travelled all over the county and also managed a site as part of my apprenticeship.”

Ryan’s apprenticeship combines on-the-job training with classroom-based learning and time spent in learningSkills’ painting and decorating workshop. He’s one of eight young trainees who have recently gone on to begin apprenticeships with North East painting and decorating businesses, supported by learningSkills.

“As well as learning practical skills and techniques, our apprentices gain confidence in different work situations including interacting with customers, colleagues and managers. A qualification like Ryan’s can lead to a range of careers in the construction industry, including shop fitting and entry-level architecture and engineering roles,” said Harriet Cole, Youth Education and Skills Coordinator with learningSkills.

learningSkills offers a variety of courses for learners of a variety of ages.

Hear from hairdressing trainee, Amy Griffiths, in this short film.

Find out more about traineeships and apprenticeships with learningSkills at or call or text (0191) 433 8646, and find out more about traineeships, and providers in the North East, at