1st Year Apprentice Automotive Painter: Madeleine Nicholson, Ritchie Collision

Madeleine is a young, energetic 21-year-old apprentice painter who recently came to the automotive sector from a background in tattooing and airbrushing.

What does your job entail?
I remove and install auto body parts and accessories, do plastic repairs, match paint codes to vehicle fishes and I prime, seal, base coast and clear coat vehicles.

What do you like most about your job?
I like that my tasks change daily. I love taking something broken and making it look better than before. I also like the customizations and cool designs I get to paint. I like the hours and the pay is ok as an apprentice and will be even better with Red Seal certification.

What do you like most about the industry?
I am working under my two bosses, and both have been mentoring me through my apprenticeship. We share the prep workload almost evenly, and sometimes I get to paint the cars as well.

What attracted you to a career in the automotive sector?
I started with tattooing, then airbrushing and then I thought about the automotive industry and thought it looked promising, for both the money and the actual trade.

What advice would you give someone considering a career in the automotive sector?
I felt that trades school taught valuable things, but I think the best way to learn is to be working in a shop under a good mentor.

What would you recommend to someone wanting to start a career in the automotive sector?
I would recommend that you go to trade school and get an apprenticeship, preferably at a smaller shop.

What’s the most unique aspect of working in the automotive sector?
I’m 21, and a girl. Many people (mostly men) are shocked when they hear what I do. I love what I do, and ultimately I would love to be doing custom hot rods in California!