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Tiler

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

Tiler

The Work

Tilers cover walls or floors with tiles, on jobs ranging from tiling a kitchen or bathroom, to fitting out a shop, hotel or restaurant. Some tilers also carry out specialist work, for instance on swimming pools and mosaic walls found in landscape gardening.

As a tiler, your work would typically involve:

  • marking out an area to estimate the amount of tiles and adhesive needed (known as setting out)
  • cutting tiles to size and shape with hand-cutters or bench-mounted tools
  • preparing surfaces by levelling off with plaster, sand or cement
  • fixing the tiles and applying grout before finishing off.

On some jobs you may have to repair or remove the previous surface before the setting out stage.

You would work with various building materials, including ceramics, glass, terracotta, stone, granite and marble.

Hours and Environment

You would normally work between 37 and 45 hours a week, Monday to Friday, although you may need to work overtime to meet contract deadlines.

Tiling can be physically demanding and often involves lifting heavy loads. You would wear protective safety clothing when working with adhesives and grout.

You would travel from site to site, and some contracts may involve overnight stays away from home.

Skills and Interests


  • good practical skills
  • the ability to follow design plans
  • accuracy and attention to detail
  • maths skills for calculating quantities of materials and costs
  • creative flair and a good eye for design
  • the ability to work as part of a team or alone
  • customer service skills
  • an awareness of health and safety
  • the ability to keep paperwork and accounts up to date (if self-employed).

Entry

Employers may expect you to have some on-site experience, which you could get by starting out as a site labourer. Once working, your employer may offer you training in tiling (see the Training and Development section below).

You may be able to get into this career through an Apprenticeship scheme with a building or tiling firm. Employers may ask for GCSEs (grades A-C) in subjects like maths, English and design and technology, or equivalent qualifications like the BTEC Introductory Certificate or Diploma in Construction.

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 www.apprenticeships.org.uk.

Alternatively, you could take a college course like the Intermediate Construction Award (Tiling). This would teach you some of the skills needed for the job, but employers may still want to see some relevant experience. Check with local colleges for course details.

You can also find a list of accredited private tiling training centres on the Tile Association website.

See the ConstructionSkills website for more information about construction careers and qualifications. The Know Your Place campaign aims to promote construction as a career choice for women.

Training

Once you are working as a tiler, you would usually train on the job, with day or block release at a local college or training centre. You could work towards the NVQ in Wall and Floor Tiling at levels 2 and 3, by combining your training with assessments in the workplace.

To gain the NVQ you must pass several units, including:

  • setting out
  • preparing surfaces
  • positioning and fixing wall and floor tiles
  • mosaic finishes.

Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS)
Many building contractors now insist that you have a CSCS card to work on their sites. The card is proof of your skills and competence. 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.

Opportunities

You would find most opportunities with specialist tiling contractors who provide services to the construction industry, directly to businesses and to individual householders.

With extra training, you may be able to progress to site supervisor, clerk of works or contract manager. You may also have options to work as an NVQ trainer and assessor on tiling courses. You could also set up your own business.

Vacancies are advertised through the local press and Jobcentre Plus, and you could also contact companies directly.

You may find jobs through the local press and Jobcentre Plus offices. The following may also be useful for 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 for tilers are between 11,000 and 16,000 a year.
  • With qualifications, this can rise to between 17,000 and 23,000.
  • Tilers with supervisory or training duties can earn between 25,000 and 30,000.

Wage rates may be higher if bonuses, shift allowances and overtime are included.

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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