If you want a job in construction, and you can work with your hands quickly and accurately, this job could be a good choice for you.
As a plasterer, you 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 render or pebble-dash.
In this job you will need maths skills to work out how much plaster you need for the size of job. You'll also need to be physically fit and able to work as part of a team. You may be able to start in this job by doing an Apprenticeship scheme.
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 such as schools or hospitals.
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 do not usually need formal qualifications to become a plasterer, but employers may prefer you to have some on-site experience. You may be able to get this experience by working as a plasterer's 'mate' or labourer.
You could get into this career by taking an Apprenticeship scheme with a plastering, drylining 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.
Another option is to take a college course in plastering to learn some of the skills needed for the job. Courses include:
• Level 1 Award/Certificate in Basic Construction Skills (Plastering)
• Level 1 Certificate in Construction and Building (Plastering Skills)
• Level 1/2 Certificate/Diploma in Plastering
• Level 1/2 Certificate/Diploma in Construction Crafts (Plastering).
Visit the CITB and bConstructive websites for more information on construction careers and qualifications.
Once you are in employment, you could take further training towards qualifications, such as:
• Level 3 Diploma in Plastering (Construction)
• Level 2/3 (NVQ) Diploma in Plastering (Construction).
These qualifications include units on:
• technical information and quantities
• applying plastering materials and render to indoor and outdoor surfaces
• producing plasterwork components from moulds
• installing components
• health and safety.
With experience, you could take specialist training for an Level 3 (NVQ) Diploma in Heritage Skills (Construction). This is designed to meet the demand for traditional craft skills used in the repair and conservation of historical buildings
Starting salaries can be between 14,000 and 17,000 a year. Qualified plasterers can earn from 17,500 to 25,000 or more.
Overtime and shift allowances will increase earnings. Self-employed plasterers negotiate their own rates.