If you want a career where you can get creative and use a variety of practical skills to produce a wide range of signage, signmaking could suit you.

James Atkinson - Visionary Design, Christchurch

James Atkinson

James Atkinson, 22, loves being able to use his artistic skills as part of his job.

James is an apprentice signmaker at Visionary Design Limited in Christchurch, having started out his apprenticeship at JBFX.

At high school, James wasn’t sure what career he would go into, but he knew he wanted to do something with his artistic abilities.

“So I picked ‘skills for living’ for one of my classes at school, where you go on work experience and learn about what jobs involve and how to get into certain industries,” James said. “I learnt from that class about sign writing and graphic design industries and got sent off JBFX for work experience.

“I enjoyed it a lot and kept asking to go back and work after school and in the holidays. It wasn’t long until I had a part time job there,” he said.

James enjoys the variety of working as a signmaker.

“Some days it’s sticking up cars or other vehicles. Other days it’s hand-painting signs or buildings, there’s so much variety. I also like designing logos – it’s cool designing so many different versions of something for a client to choose from and seeing what they choose or would like to expand upon,” he said.

Projects James has been involved in include the design and building of themes for bars, theatre rooms and other places.

“One big job I got to help a lot on was converting a theatre into a sunken submarine, complete with periscopes and red alert alarms,” he said

James expects to finish his apprenticeship in 2013.

“I am most of the way through my apprenticeship now and am still very much enjoying it. We have a good team ethic where we each share jobs and everyone gets a go at different jobs, (e.g. designing, painting, building, applying vinyl etc) so I’m getting to learn each job there is in the industry pretty quickly,” he said.

One of James’s future career goals is to be one of the best in his industry.

“I like what I’m doing so I’ll stick to it. The best way to expand my future is to get better and learn more,” he said.