Simon Medlin – Apprentice’s social media skills bring millions of online views and new business to specialist international decorator

By his own admission, decorator Simon Medlin used to have little experience with promoting his business online. That was until he sought the advice of his digitally savvy apprentice, Jordan, who has helped Simon develop a social media presence that has seen him gain millions of internet fans and a wealth of new customers to boot.

Simon has been supporting the development of Jordan’s decorating career for the last five years, teaching him about the industry and helping to sharpen the skills he learned during his apprenticeship at Langley College in Slough. Simon says Jordan has now become an ‘integral part of the team’ and has also helped teach him a thing or two along the way – including the business benefits of using social media.

“We had our business website but never really used to get involved with social media before,” says Simon, who runs Medlin with Paint, a national multi-award-winning decorating company based in Wooburn Green, Buckinghamshire. “Thanks to Jordan, we now have an Instagram page and we’re on TikTok too, where we can share more details about the work we do quickly and more frequently with customers.”

Simon has used Jordan’s intrinsic knowledge of social media to grow awareness of the services offered by his company, which specialises in high quality painting and decorating, paint effects, and installation of bespoke wallpapers. 

The Medlin with Paint Instagram account now has more than 1,000 followers and is updated regularly with images of the stunning room transformations carried out by Simon and his team. In addition, a series of TikTok videos featuring how-to decorating guides and more light-hearted content has gained a huge online audience and helped the business develop a closer bond with customers.

Simon says; “It’s been crazy. We had one TikTok video of me trimming some expensive wallpaper by a fireplace which has got 2.6 million views! We’ve got people who have now recognised us for the content we post on online, which has led to more visits to our website and more jobs, and Jordan has played a huge part in that.”

With the launch of National Apprenticeship Week, Simon has praised Jordan and the other apprentices he has helped mentor over the last 17 years for bringing an extra dimension to his company. 

“I took on my first apprentice in 2005 and have helped train four in total up until now. We’re a specialist decorator working on many high-end jobs in the UK and internationally, so it’s been important for us to have people who are quick to learn and we can train up to suit our way of working. That’s one of the advantages of taking on apprentices, and we’ve also been able to learn from them about the latest trends in painting and decorating and the wider world, so it goes both ways.”

With much of Medlin with Paint’s business taking place overseas, Simon has also been able to offer his apprentices the unique experience of working on painting and decorating projects in far-flung places such as Kazakhstan and Kuwait.

“We work all over the world and have had jobs in 24 different countries. Jordan has supported us on work in six countries during that time, including parts of the Middle East such as Saudi Arabi, Dubai and Qatar. I think learning about new cultures and ways of working has really helped with the development of our apprentices.”

Simon has also been able to pass on his knowledge as a Dulux Select Decorator and has encouraged his apprentices to take training courses through Dulux Academy to learn specialist skills that support their college and on-site learning. He says; “Jordan has completed the Digital Murals and Feature Walls course and Spray Introduction course with Dulux Academy, and his wallpapering has really come a long way. Much of what we’re teaching him now is how to hone his skills to the highest standard possible.”

Simon’s work to encourage and support the next generation of painters and decorators saw him named as the Apprentice Mentor of the Year at the 2020 Dulux Select Decorators Awards. He is now encouraging other employers to follow his lead and recruit their own apprentices to develop their businesses and build the workforce of tomorrow. 

“Apprentices have definitely been beneficial to me and my company. They teach you so many things and I’ve been able to provide them with practical skills and life lessons that go beyond just painting and decorating. You get to build that trust and camaraderie with them and it’s something that spreads to the whole team. It sometimes requires a bit more patience and extra work in the short term, but the long-term rewards are well worth it.” 

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