From education to employment

Former Barking & Dagenham College student is decorating her way to successful career

A former Barking & Dagenham College (@BarkingCollege) student has set up her own painting and decorating business.

Jade Buckingham, 32, from Romford, originally wanted to be in the police force, but when she moved into her own house and needed to redecorate, things started to change.  Her friends and family saw the work she had done to her house and liked it so much they started to ask her to decorate their houses too.  It was this that made her think about a career in painting and decorating.

Deciding this was something she wanted to do, in 2014 she applied to study it at Barking & Dagenham College and has never looked back.

Initially starting on a level 1 course, Jade loved it so much she continued to study, working her way up to level 2, then 3 and becoming an apprentice in the College’s own training and apprenticeship programme. 

It was while she was an apprentice that Jade first started thinking about setting up on her own and mentioned this to Cliff Medhurst, a carpenter by trade, who was helping in Jade’s training. 

When her training came to an end a year ago, Jade knew that the time was right to make her dreams become a reality and spoke to Cliff about forming their own business. This was the creation of JC Interior and Exterior Property Solutions.

Jade says: “I could paint all day and night! I find it therapeutic and love to be able to see what I’ve achieved at the end of a project. While I was training and working as an apprentice and getting all my qualifications, I was learning so much and gaining more responsibility and doing things like managing jobs and being site foreman.  I knew I wanted to eventually do this for myself but it’s really scary setting up a business and I knew it would be hard to do, so we wanted to wait till the right time.”

A world-wide pandemic wasn’t what Jade was expecting when they set up though and this has certainly proved challenging. 

As Jade says; “We started just before the first lockdown happened so it meant we didn’t qualify for any of the government funding, so our first year has certainly been harder than it would normally be.  It’s been worth it though.”

They have since worked on both domestic and commercial projects, including within a number of schools and have just finished redecorating over 20 classrooms for one!  They cover everything from painting and decorating to landscaping and kitchen and bathroom fitting, making full use of both Jade’s and Cliff’s skills.

Cliff says: “I’ve been in the business for 22 years on my own as a carpenter, and when I met Jade I could see her potential.  When she mentioned wanting to set a business up I thought that our combined skills could make this work.  Jade’s great to work with and I really think it’s been the best decision for us.”

Jade and Cliff are now looking forward to growing the business and are excited to see what the future holds.  

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