YOUNG people in Southampton are being urged to consider a career in painting and decorating, as new figures from a trade association show that thousands of new recruits are needed to plug a skills gap in the industry.

The Painting and Decorating Association (PDA) predicts that about 2,000 people are needed to fill roles in the industry over the next five years.

In a bid to address the shortfall, the PDA is looking at ways to make the industry seem more appealing to youngsters, including raising awareness of competitions it organises for apprentices at a regional and national level.

Bernard Dykes, chairman of the PDA's Training and education Committee, said: "It is difficult to get youngsters of the right calibre into the industry.

"So many young people are coming out of university to take up white collar jobs and then struggle to find work.

"We hope to appeal to youngsters considering higher education and outline the rewards of working in the trade.

"There are great opportunities. Qualifications and standards can be achieved and there is even the chance for people to start up their own business. It is also rewarding and can be creative."

To find out more about training in the painting and decorating industry, visit

For more information on the PDA, go to