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Jasmine Ullah

Painting and decorating apprentice Jasmine Ullah has been attending City College Plymouth since the age of 14 having joined via Jumpstart, the College’s transition programme for home-schooled teenagers. 

From day one Jasmine has shown an exemplary attitude towards her studies and in 2019 she was named the winner of the Pre-Employment Student of the Year Award. Now aged 18, Jasmine is still a popular member of the College community and her lecturers are delighted that she is now an apprentice with the well-known Eliza Tay Lady Decorators.

Jasmine knew she wanted to study a construction-related subject and, having been given the chance to try out the different trades through the Jumpstart programme, she settled on painting and decorating. Jasmine hopes to carry out aid work in countries affected by disasters and felt learning a trade would give her some practical skills to do this. 

Jasmine explained: “My brother and I were home-schooled and the Jumpstart programme was a good bridge back into mainstream education. My brother, who is a few years older than me, completed the Jumpstart programme first and said how good it was to be able to try out lots of different courses.  

“He suggested I might enjoy painting and decorating the most and it turns out he was right. I never really considered myself as particularly ‘arty’ but I have heard some people describe me that way. What I like the most about painting and decorating is how therapeutic it is. It also makes people happy – I didn’t really appreciate that until I started meeting customers and working in their homes. Now I enjoy seeing how pleased they are when a job has been completed.”

Her time at the College has seen Jasmine complete Level 1 and Level 2 Diplomas in Painting and Decorating. Despite having gained the qualifications to be able to start working full-time as a painter and decorator, Jasmine felt an Apprenticeship was the next logical step for her and has been working on developing her confidence and other workplace skills. 

Jasmine said: “A lot of teenagers are shy when they start College but having been home-schooled, I was also really lacking in confidence. Even at the start of my Apprenticeship – and I know this sounds a bit silly – I would have found it difficult to even accept a cup of tea from a customer! Now I feel a lot more comfortable talking to people. Customers are, naturally, often curious about the work we are doing, and I used to find it really uncomfortable when customers would ask questions or even just watch as we worked. Now it just feels normal and I feel a lot more confident when it comes to speaking with customers and working independently. 

“College has been really good for helping to build my confidence. We get people of all ages studying painting and decorating so that has been helpful, but also the staff are really friendly and supportive. I still look forward to my College days – we do a lot of theory which we don’t really do in our day-to-day work. But I also love working and using everything I have learned in real settings.”

With this being the first job Jasmine has had, it has been a new experience to earn her own money and she would recommend an Apprenticeship to anyone who might need to develop their confidence. 

Jasmine added: “I think I might like to have my own business in the future. Nettie, the owner of Eliza Tay, is really encouraging. I’m actually her tenth apprentice and she is really passionate about seeing more women entering the industry. I’m not entirely sure just yet – I’m a little bit nervous at the idea of being the boss, but it is still very early on in my career and I’m just looking forward to trying new things.”