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.

Nicole Swain - Fine Signs, Petone

Nicole Swain

Nicole Swain, 29, enjoys the variety of her role as a signmaker. And also the fact that her role doesn’t involve being stuck behind a desk.

Nicole completed her Signmaking apprenticeship in her family-run business in 2012. She specialised in hand-lettering and computer graphics.

Her hard work and efforts paid off with Nicole taking out the Signmaking Apprentice of the Year Award at the NZ Sign & Display Awards in 2013.

Nicole was very excited to go up and collect her gold medal.

“I knew I was up for an award but had no idea on what colour. It’s great to have the certificate to prove you are qualified, and the award that goes with it helps more so,” she says.

After leaving school Nicole initially studied sport management and worked part time in sports photography. She came back to Fine Signs to help her Mum and Dad run the digital printing side of the business.

“When dad decided he was going to hire another apprentice I thought I would do my apprenticeship too as I was really enjoying the industry and the people I had met at events like Letterheads.”

“One day I might be outside installing a sign or sign writing a building and the next I will be designing new signs.

“My goals are improving my skills and knowledge in the digital side but also the hand lettering and calligraphy. I started Calligraphy two years ago and it really makes you appreciate a nice letter form and teaches you that just because you typed in a font it doesn’t mean things like the spacing are right.

“I’m really looking forward to completing a five-day course on Lettering in Melbourne in a couple of months with Luca Barcellona and Elmo van Slingerland,” she says.

Outside of work Nicole enjoys travelling the country riding her mountain bike, photography, 4×4 driving, skiing and “pretty much anything outside that has a bit of scenery and speed”.