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Apprentice Spray Painter Turns Childhood Hobby Into Career

Posted in Apprenticeships Automotive General Spray painting

A childhood interest in painting has lead Shania Leach down a fulfilling career path. The apprentice spray painter is now applying that interest to her Certificate III in Automotive Refinishing Technology.

“Painting has always been an interest of mine. Since I was little I would always paint with my mum. I loved a variety of arts and crafts,” Shania said.


Shania has turned her childhood love of painting into a career in the automotive world. Photo credit: My Gateway.

A friend who worked as a spray painter also inspired Shania to look more into the trade.

“Whenever I’d see him in his backyard with the stands and taping his equipment together, I was so intrigued. I knew it would be something so interesting to learn.”

Instead of waiting for an opportunity to arise, Shania took it upon herself to seek out an apprenticeship. In late 2019, she walked into Sydney West Smash Repairs and was lucky enough to gain a trial run with the business and hasn’t looked back.

In the time since she began her apprenticeship, Shania has learnt a great deal of skills such as the preparation that goes into vehicles prior to painting. She especially enjoys the process of mixing the paint and learning about colours and tones.

“I enjoy mixing the paint because the paint colours are all different,” she said.

“Before I started this trade I’d see a car and like the colour for the colour I would see. I can say now I never really knew how different a colour could be. There are different whites, blues, blacks, any colour – they are always different.”

Working in an industry that is predominantly male-dominated hasn’t hindered Shania either. In fact, she has embraced her uniqueness in the trade and has been well supported by her colleagues at Sydney West Smash Repairs.

“I went from a job with mostly women to a job with all men that treat me and each other well, regardless of the differences we have,” she said.

Shania also believes it’s important to show resilience in a spray painting apprenticeship and that you need to do the hard yards in order for things to pay off in the long run.

“It’s not an easy job, however, if you like it, you can push forward and better yourself. There are many ways where this trade can be utilised other than automotive but you need to learn the basics first.”

So what is Shania excited for as she moves through her apprenticeship?

“Learning more and more things each day and to concentrate on improving my work,” she said.

“With sanding and prepping, I’m keen to learn more of the painting side but as everyone knows it’s more prep than paint and that’s okay. As I get better at prepping for paint, I think I will be a great painter when I’m up to that stage.”

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