My Life as an Industrial Painter
One mans story of his life and love for industrial painting and how he was offered work across the region painting the High Level, Millennium bridges and Sage Gateshead.
Well from doing the pylons I’ve always done painting so then I got used to heights so I just thought I wonder if I could move on and what I found is from the pylons I had to find other painting work because I was used to painting. So, I come back home, got talking to the lads, Billy get yourself in the ship yards I said right I’ll go for the interview and the man that give us the interview he says I’ll put you on a twelve weeks trial. Right, well I thought once I do the trial I’ll probably not get the job. So I done the twelve weeks trial that the man wanted and at the end of it he says Billy I’m keeping you on and I was there for 8 year at British ship builders and at the end of the 8 years I took my redundancy but worked my 8 years service and then I thought can I move on?
So I went for another firm I went on the rigs, worked down Middlesbrough for 9 years, good money, good over time so I kept travelling down Middlesbrough. Anyway the 9 years was up, right I had a spell on the dole, what do I do now? So I went to another firm who painted factories, different things, ships. So he put me on a trial and then he says Billy, I’m keeping you on. Worked for him for 5 year, then I left him and I went for another job, oh I loved it, I always loved it, ever since I done the pylons I knew I was just going to keep painting, I knew that, I knew you couldn’t get us off it then. Even the law when I started off I wasn’t time served where a lot of lads I worked with were time served painters. Now when I went into the British ship builders a lot of the lads were time served but there was a lot that wasn’t. But, we all worked together so we all got on. Anyway, after British ship builders I kept painting which I got the high level bridge, I got the millennium bridge, I got the Sage, painting that. Anyway, different men used to come to us, Billy will you work for me? Because I’d heard about you. Aye I’ll come and work for you, painters and decorators, it made no difference to me. Sometimes I got on a job and all the lads were time served. ‘Billy you’re not time served you cant work here’ ‘oh I can the gaffer’s given me a job and its got nothing to do with you’. But there was always friction between lads that were time served and lads that weren’t so I decided to go to college in 1995 I went to Hebburn College I got all my qualifications, NVQ, I went to Newcastle college I got qualifications there and that’s how I kept going because I had the proof that I was a painter and it took some doing because I had never worked that way I just done what I had to do.
Moving Forward South Tyneside
A range of stories by people who have experienced acute and enduring mental health problems.]