HAVING painted his bedroom walls at home, Thanet Kotchasenee walked into his painting class at the Suphan Buri Technical College believing he knew everything. But he was wrong.
“Thanks to the class, I’ve realised that my paint mixing is not all it could be,” said the Suphan Buri painter during an educational trip to Vietnam. “When you don’t know how to combine things right, there’s a risk your paint mixture will not work.”
Thanet is among seven winners in the TOA Paint (Thailand) contest for vocational students. Held for the first time as part of TOA Paint’s efforts to encourage programs in painting at both vocational-certificate and high-vocational certificate levels, the contest based its test questions and test tasks on a paint textbook prepared by the firm in collaboration with teachers.
“We worked on the textbook for years and launched it to students last year,” said Chalermpon Boontharakool, Research and Development Section Manager (Support Non-Decorative) for TOA Paint.
The contest first took place in 2013, with students from 14 vocational colleges competing. Participants had to prove both their practical skills and theoretical knowledge to win the competition.
“I held a mini test back at my college to choose the right representative for my institute,” Arom Koonan, a teacher at Phetchaburi Technical College said. Her chosen student scored the highest in the theoretical part and did well in the practical part of the contest too. Winners and their teachers were offered the educational trip to Vietnam as a reward for their efforts.
While Arom believes practice makes perfect, she feels that theories and up-to-date knowledge are also crucial in delivering great painting work.
“Great paint needs a great surface. If the surface is not smooth, you must know how to fix it before you start painting,” she explained.
Supoch Insuk, a teacher at Suphan Buri Technical College, echoed the same thinking. He said there was more to painting than many people think.
“New products are launched every year. If you have solid theoretical knowledge to apply to your work, you are bound to perform well,” he said.
He expects his students to do well enough to be supervisors, not just painters.
Anna Chiewchuad, who teaches at the Buri Ram Technical College, said all graduates from her college’s construction programme had got jobs such as foremen.
“Employers such as SCG and Syntec have come to our college to recruit graduates in advance,” she said, adding that that those with a vocational certificate could get a starting salary of Bt13,000 per month plus other benefits.
Anna said a construction course might not be popular among students these days, but it was one that promised a very good chance of employment.
“Painting is a very solid profession,” she said. “Most students in the construction programme have enrolled at the urging of their parents.”
Her student Nattapat Nareeram, who was among the seven winners of the TOA Paint contest, said it was his mother who nudged him into the field. He said that he hoped his success in the contest would help him get a good job and opportunities to work overseas. “I hope I can come to work in a foreign country like Vietnam,” he said.
Kessiri Loilawa, PR & CSR Manager TOA Paint (Thailand) said it was in the interest of her company and the economy as a whole to establish painting as a viable profession.