Certificate in Preparation and Application of Paint Systems (NQ) @ SCQF Level 5 (C&G)


This is a nationally-recognised course covering the proper use of tools and equipment. The course covers several practical-based units such as preparation, painting, wallpaper hanging, scaffolding, and theory units about the construction industry.

The practical element of the course accounts for the majority of the time spent at college and the remainder is taken up by classroom-based tasks such as basic construction drawing skills, health and safety, scaffolding, construction technologies, and mandatory core skills.

It is hoped that the course will enhance the student’s chance of getting an employer to sponsor them for progression to Painting and Decorating SVQ Level 3, which is the first year of the apprenticeship.

The course is industry recognised as a pre-apprenticeship course and will enhance the learner’s opportunities in finding employment in the construction industry.

Course code





Attendance: Full Time - Predominantly face-to-face practical delivery approach although there may be some limited theory classes that can be completed from home.
Attendance is on-campus 2 days per week plus an additional 1hr online tutorial. 

Ideally, you would be looking to gain employment or work experience within the industry for the days that you are not in college.

Entry Requirements

To be 16 years of age or over by 30th September and any one of the following: 

If you have previously been or are currently a college academy or full-time student at Dumfries and Galloway College studying construction, achieve a positive learner reference from your personal tutor confirming that you have the ability to successfully complete this course.


Achieve at least 1 National 5 at C or above and 4 National 4 awards with at least one being from Maths, English, or a science. If you are currently working towards these grades you may still apply, subject to you passing the required grades.


Achieve at least 6 National 4 awards with at least one being from Maths, English, or a science. If you are currently working towards these grades you may still apply, subject to you passing the required grades.


Entry may still be possible particularly for mature students, depending on prior knowledge and construction experience, please note this down in your application details and further discussion can take place at the interview stage.

Applicants must also:


  • Display a passion for a career in painting and decorating during application and interview.
  • Demonstrate the ability to work at SCQF level 5.
  • Be motivated and have a good timekeeping and attendance history.
  • Current students at the college will also require a positive progressing learner reference.
  • Attend an information and interview session should you be offered one on the given date and time.

Prior to the information and interview session, you will be required to research the answers to the preset question detailed in the ‘Information and Interview Session Requirements’ section

During the information and interview session, applicants will have a short interview with a member of staff to reveal their answers to the preset questions and discuss their suitability for the course prior to a decision being made about their application.

Safety footwear, hi-viz vests, and head protection are always compulsory within our workshops and the college will provide you with all PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) for which you will be responsible to look after and wear. 

Learners should be prepared to be actively involved in looking for an employer who may take them on for work experience, whilst this is not a compulsory part of the course it would be beneficial for progressing onto the next stage. Guidance will be available from staff.

Information and Interview Session Requirements

Once we have received your application you will be asked to attend an informal information and interview session. This may be on-campus, or either through TEAMS or by phone but remember to tell us all about yourself in your personal statement!

This is a key aspect of the application process. You must confirm your attendance should you be offered an appointment. 

During the information and interview session, we will ensure the entry requirements and your aspirations and career plan are appropriate for the course and the level of course you have applied for. It is therefore important that you prepare well for this.

During your information and interview session, lecturers will be looking at the following criteria:

  • How you present yourself at the interview.
  • How committed you are to a future career in construction.
  • Knowledge of progression routes for your chosen course.
  • The level of research and accuracy of responses to the 5 general construction questions below.

You may bring some notes to help you answer your responses. 

  • Describe the differences between a terraced, semi-detached, and detached house.
  • Describe the difference between a painter and a decorator.
  • Describe how you would calculate the area of a feature wall that requires wallpapering.
  • Describe how you would calculate the perimeter of a room that requires the skirting boards painted.
  • What is the width of a standard roll of wallpaper?

You are required to provide at the mandatory information and interview session, any relevant qualifications you currently possess or one positive reference from a previous colleague or employer who can confirm that you have previously worked in a similar environment and that you have the ability and correct attitude to complete this particular course. 
Don't worry if you are waiting on results for this academic year, we can still complete the interview process and your application will be processed pending achieving the recommended entry criteria qualifications. 

Course Content

Units are delivered with a mix of practical and theoretical elements with at least three hours of practical activities in any given college day:

Practical elements of this course cover

  • Introduction to painting and decorating tools and techniques.
  • Preparing surfaces for decorating.
  • Learning about colour schemes.
  • Applying paint by brush and rollers to walls and ceilings.
  • Applying a range of decorative effects such as woodgrain.
  • Applying wallpapers to walls and ceilings.
  • Learning how to erect scaffolding

As with all courses at the college, this course also aims to develop your abilities to work both independently and as part of a team and also extend your core employability skills of numeracy, IT, and communication.

The following elements are also delivered to allow you to work safely and give you an understanding of construction principles.

  • Health, Safety, and Welfare in Construction
  • Principles of Building Construction 

Successful completion of this course will gain you a City and Guilds Diploma in Painting and Decorating at SCQF level 5.


Practical and theory assessments for this course are ongoing throughout the year. There is no final end-of-year exam for this course.


It would be hoped that the course would act as a stepping stone into an SVQ 3 Painting and Decorating craft apprenticeship, employment within the industry at this stage would be necessary.

Students showing the correct employability skills at the end of the year can also be recommended for apprenticeships to local employers 

Career Prospects

Ultimately this could lead you to an SVQ3 Painting and Decorating craft apprenticeship.

Additional funding information

You may be eligible for bursary or EMA funding for this course, please contact a member of the student funding team for details.

Selling Points

46% of all current 1st year Dumfries and Galloway construction apprentices have previously studied a construction-related course within the college highlighting both the fantastic opportunity for progression to apprenticeship and how employers are looking for apprentices who have prior construction knowledge and skills.