Apprentice painter follows boss's footsteps to gold medal

DAB HAND: Westley Wyatt followed the footsteps of his employer Mick Butler to win the regional apprentice award for the Spencer Gulf.
DAB HAND: Westley Wyatt followed the footsteps of his employer Mick Butler to win the regional apprentice award for the Spencer Gulf.

Striking “gold” at the regional apprentice awards has become something of a tradition for the team at a local painting contractor.

Westley Wyatt, 19, of Port Pirie, won the Spencer Gulf regional prize in the Workskills Regional Skills Competition.

The competition, known as the “Olympics of Skills”, was at Tonsley TAFE in Adelaide on August 9 – and it was a sweet success for Mr Wyatt’s boss Mick Butler.

Mr Butler won the same award more than 20 years ago and he has previously employed two Apprentices of the Year.

As a result of his regional success, Mr Wyatt will travel to Sydney for national titles and possibly to Russia for an international championship.

An enthusiastic Mr Butler said he might join Mr Wyatt on the overseas trip if it eventuated.

“I am very, very happy with Westley,” Mr Butler said.

“Ever since I hired him straight from school, he has improved month by month. He is an absolute credit to our business. I can’t do it without him.

“Now that he has won this award, he is well on his way to emulating those other two lads.”

Mr Wyatt said he didn’t “dream” to become an apprentice painter and decorator, but simply applied for a job that he saw advertised in The Recorder.

“That was nearly two years ago,” he said.

With a brush in his hand, the modest teenager said Mr Butler was a good teacher

Mr Wyatt plays cricket for Props and seconds football for Lions.

Painting and decorating lecturer Steve Baliga, of TAFE SA, said the national titles at Darling Habour would be a huge event.

“Hundreds of thousands of people will attend the Careers Expo with contestants from 60 trades from around Australia including mechanics, carpenters, hairdressers, florists, chefs, beauticians and bricklayers,” he said.

Mr Baliga said the regional competition had featured apprentices from Port Lincoln, Port Augusta and Whyalla.

“There is more involved in painting than people think,” he said.

“Westley is the gold medallist for the Spencer Gulf.”