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Plasterer

Source of Information: Next Step / DirectGov / Careers Advice Service

Plasterer

The Work

As a plasterer, you would mix and apply different kinds of plaster to internal walls and ceilings so that they are ready for decorating. You could also cover outside walls with coatings, such as sand and cement, pebble-dash and stone-effect materials.

You would normally be part of a small team, and work in one of the following:

  • solid plastering applying wet finishes to surfaces and putting protective coverings like pebble-dashing on external walls
  • fibrous plastering creating ornamental plasterwork, such as ceiling roses, cornices, and architraves, using a mixture of plaster and short fibres shaped with moulds and casts
  • dry lining fixing internal plasterboard or wallboard partitions by fastening them together on a timber or metal frame ready for decorating.

You could work on small-scale domestic jobs, repairs and restoration or on big commercial developments.

Hours and Environment

You would work around 39 hours a week, Monday to Friday, although weekend or evening work may be necessary to meet deadlines.

As a solid plasterer, you would mainly work indoors this could be on existing buildings or on building sites. As a fibrous plasterer you would usually be based in a workshop, but may also make site visits.

You may have to work at heights from ladders, platforms or scaffolding, depending on the job. You would wear protective clothing and may need to wear a safety helmet on site.

Some jobs may involve overnight stays away from home.

Skills and Interests


  • good practical skills
  • the ability to work quickly and accurately
  • maths skills for calculating surface areas and volumes of materials
  • a reasonable level of fitness
  • the ability to work as part of a team
  • creative skills for fibrous plastering and other decorative work
  • an awareness of health and safety issues.

Entry

You do not usually need qualifications to become a plasterer, but employers usually look for people with some on-site experience. If you have not worked in construction before, you may be able to get this experience by working as a plasterer's 'mate' or labourer.

A common way into plastering is through an Apprenticeship scheme with a plastering or building firm. The range of Apprenticeships available in your area will depend on the local jobs market and the types of skills employers need from their workers. For more information on Apprenticeships, visit http://www.apprenticeships.org.uk/.

For an Apprenticeship, you may need some GCSEs in subjects such as maths, English and design and technology, or equivalent qualifications.

Alternatively, you could learn some of the skills needed for the job by taking a college course in plastering, but employers may still want to see some site experience.

Relevant courses include:

  • City & Guilds (6217) Certificate in Basic Construction Skills (Plastering)
  • CSkills Awards Diploma in Plastering
  • ABC Certificate in Preparation for Employment in Plastering
  • Ascentis Preparation for Employment in the Construction Industries (Plastering).

Visit the ConstructionSkills website for information on construction careers and qualifications. The Know Your Place campaign aims to promote the construction industry as a career choice for women.

Training

Once you are in employment, you could work towards NVQ levels 2 and 3 in Plastering.

After completing the Level 3 NVQ, you could take further specialist training for an NVQ Level 3 in Heritage Skills (Construction). This is designed to meet the demand for traditional craft skills used in the repair and conservation of historical buildings.

Many building contractors now insist that you have a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card to work on their sites. To get your card you must:

  • pass a health and safety assessment
  • have an NVQ or equivalent qualification.

If you are working without qualifications, you may be able to use On-Site Assessment and Training (OSAT) or Experienced Worker Practical Assessment (EWPA) to get your NVQ and card. Contact CSCS or SkillsDirect for further details.

The Traditional Building Skills Bursary scheme offers bursaries and organises work-based training placements for people who want to develop their skills in these areas. Visit the Traditional Building Skills Bursary Scheme website to find out if you are eligible for the scheme.

Opportunities

You could work for specialist plastering firms, building contractors, local authorities and other public organisations. With experience, you could also become self-employed and work as a sub-contractor.

You could progress to supervisory jobs or move into other areas, like tiling, estimating and site management.

You may find the following links useful for job vacancies and general reading (links open in a new window):

bConstructive
Construction Jobs Network
Directgov (Jobseekers page)

We do not accept responsibility for the content of external sites.

Annual Income


  • Starting salaries can be between 14,000 and 17,000 a year.
  • Qualified plasterers can earn from 17,500 to over 25,000 or more.
  • Experienced plasterers can earn around 28,000 a year.

Overtime and shift allowances will increase earnings. Self-employed plasterers negotiate their own rates.

Figures are intended as a guideline only.

Further information

If you would like to discuss your career options with a learning advisor at the Careers Advice Service advice line, call 0800 100 900 or use our online enquiry form.
 

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