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Job Photographs

  • A man is standing in a room.  He is spreading plaster onto a wall.

    Applying a thin top coat of plaster.

  • A man, wearing a red hard hat, is standing on a building site.  He is shovelling a pile of plaster mix into a cement mixer.

    Mixing plaster.

  • A man is standing in a room.  He is spreading plaster onto a wall.

    Applying base coat plaster to a wall.

  • A man is standing on a set of step-ladders.  He is fixing a plastic cornice to a wall.

    Fixing a decorative cornice to a wall.

  • A man is standing next to a wall.  He is drawing a brick effect in the plaster.

    Scoring plaster to give a decorative brick effect.

  • Plasterer

Plasterer

Video: - Dane: Plasterer

Work Activities

As a Plasterer, you will be mixing and applying plaster to walls and ceilings. This is usually a mix of your own materials or you'll have another Plasterer do it for you.

When a job starts, you will prepare the area to be plastered to ensure that the first coat sticks to the material the wall is made of. Plaster is generally built up in two coats but where the wall is very uneven, three or even four coats may be needed.

Fibrous plasterers work with plaster that has short lengths of fibre added to hold it together while you are working on it. You could make ornamental plasterwork and decorative panels by moulding and casting plaster in workshops. The finished pieces are then fixed on-site.

On historic buildings, specialist skills are often required, for example, to conserve existing plaster work which may be hundreds of years old.

You will need to be quick – plaster dries out quickly so you need to make sure it is of high standard before it has dried. When it is dry, Painters and Decorators can start working on it.

Dry lining is a common alternative to wet plastering work in certain types of construction project. Dry lining involves building internal walls using plasterboard panels. Many plastering firms will also do dry lining work.

Plasterers work across the whole of the construction industry from new housing developments, shopping centres and stadia to restoration projects and sustainable buildings.

You will also be using lots of tools. These could include:

  • inside and outside corner trowel
  • finishing trowel
  • hawks
  • taping knife
  • notched adhesive trowel
  • scratching float
  • jointing knife
  • mixing bucket
  • scarifier
  • ladders
  • scaffolding

Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.

Personal Qualities and Skills

To become a Plasterer, you'll need:

  • good practical skills
  • to work very carefully, following specifications
  • an eye for design. This would be useful in decorative plasterwork
  • to be physically fit, as the work involves a lot of bending, lifting and stretching
  • to be self-motivated
  • awareness of the importance of health and safety in this industry
  • a good head for heights, as some of the work of a plasterer involves being on ladders or scaffolding

Experience of dry lining work would be very useful.

As you may have to travel around locally, a driving licence would be useful for this type of work.

This job might not be suitable for people who have skin conditions, such as eczema, or breathing complaints, such as asthma.

Pay and Opportunities

Pay

The pay rates given below are approximate:

  • Starting: £22,000 to £23,000
  • With experience: £24,000 - £27,000
  • Senior Plasterers earn £27,500

If you are self-employed, you could charge £10 - £15 per hour.

Hours of work

Plasterers work a 39 hours a week. Overtime, including Saturday and Sunday working, may be available.

Where could I work?

Employers are building contractors throughout the UK.

Fibrous Plasterers normally work for firms specialising in ornamental plasterwork.

Opportunities for Plasterers occur with employers in towns and cities throughout the UK.

Self-employment

Opportunities occur for experienced Plasterers to work as self-employed Contractors.

Where are vacancies advertised?

Vacancies are advertised on all the major job boards, on Find a Job, and at Jobcentre Plus.

Entry Routes and Training

Entry

You do not need any qualifications to become a Plasterer. An Intermediate or Advanced Level Apprenticeship will be a great place to start. Take a look at our information article 'Apprenticeships – How do I apply', for more details about applying for apprenticeship positions.

There are various relevant qualifications available from organisations like City & Guilds and Edexcel. These courses may be in a more general subject area, such as construction.

Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS)

You need a CSCS (Construction Skills Certification Scheme) card to work on site. These cards show that you are qualified to do the work you've been employed for.

CSCS cards will cost £36 and you will have to pass the appropriate Construction Industry Training Board health, safety and environmental test. This costs £21. You will then complete an application form and pay the total price of £57.

The CSCS application form has four sections that you will have to complete:

  • section A: This section is where you complete your personal details and attach a passport photo or your Health, Safety & Environment Test photo
  • section B: This is where you fill in your occupation details and state which card you need. The different cards are skilled, craft and operative cards.
  • section C: This a declaration section where your current employer, previous employer or a CSCS card holder will declare that you meet the requirements of the card
  • section D: This is the details of your card requirements and what evidence you need to get a CSCS card

Training

The alternative route of an Apprenticeship will usually involve work- and college-based training. You will also receive training in subjects like health and safety.

There are various work-based qualifications related to plastering. Also, there is a NVQ in drylining available at level 2.

If you would like some training, BTEC offer a level 2 qualification in construction and the built environment. This course has a range of mandatory and optional units, which include:

  • construction principles
  • construction design
  • construction technology
  • health and safety in construction
  • management of a construction project
  • projects in construction
  • quantity surveying
  • construction in civil engineering

Other courses could be available in your area.

Work Experience

Previous experience on a construction site would be really useful for this career.

Progression

In the construction industry, it is possible to work up from craft-level positions to managerial roles, such as Construction Site Manager.

Qualifications

You do not need any qualifications to become a Plasterer.

To get onto an Intermediate or Advanced Level Apprenticeship, you’ll usually need five GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, possibly including English and maths.

To enter a City & Guilds or BTEC level 1 or level 2 course in construction and the built Environment, you'll usually need at least:

  • 4 GCSEs at grades D - G or 3 - 1

However, individual centres may have different entry requirements. You may be able to get on to one of the courses without any qualifications.

Adult Opportunities

Age limits

It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.

Skills/experience

Related skills, for example, gained while a building operative, are useful.

Courses

Colleges will usually consider applications from candidates who do not meet their usual entry requirements. You should check the admissions policy of individual colleges.

Many people go into this career via a Construction Specialist Intermediate Level Apprenticeship or Advanced Level Apprenticeship.

Statistics

  • 74% of plasterers are self-employed.
  • 3% work part-time.

Further Information

Apprenticeships: Get In. Go Far

National Apprenticeship Service (NAS)

Tel: 0800 015 0400

Email: nationalhelpdesk@findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk

Website: www.apprenticeships.org.uk

LGjobs

Local government vacancies

Website: www.lgjobs.com

Skills Development Scotland - Modern Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 9178000

Email: info@skillsdevelopmentscotland.co.uk

Website: www.myworldofwork.co.uk/modernapprenticeships

myjobscotland: Scottish local government vacancies

Scottish enquiries

Email: myjobscotland@cosla.gov.uk

Website: www.myjobscotland.gov.uk

City & Guilds

Address: 1 Giltspur Street, London EC1A 9DD

Tel: 020 7294 2468

Email: learnersupport@cityandguilds.com

Website: www.cityandguilds.com

CITB-ConstructionSkills

Skills for the construction industry

Address: Bircham Newton, Kings Lynn, Norfolk PE31 6RH

Website: www.cskills.org

National Heritage Training Group (NHTG)

Address: Carthusian Court, 12 Carthusian Street, London EC1M 6EZ

Tel: 01342 326171

Email: rayrobertson@nhtgskills.org

Website: www.nhtg.org.uk

CITB NI

Northern Ireland Enquiries

Address: Nutts Corner Training Centre, 17 Dundrod Road, Crumlin, County Antrim BT29 4SR

Tel: 028 9082 5466

Email: info@citbcsni.org.uk

Website: www.citbcsni.org.uk

Construction Employers Federation (CEF)

Irish enquiries

Address: 143 Malone Road, Belfast BT9 6SU

Tel: 028 9087 7143

Email: mail@cefni.co.uk

Website: www.cefni.co.uk

Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS)

Address: Bircham Newton, Kings Lynn, Norfolk PE31 6RH

Tel: 0844 5768777

Website: www.cscs.uk.com

bConstructive

Publisher: CITB-ConstructionSkills

Tel: 0344 994 4010

Email: myapprenticeship@citb.co.uk

Website: www.bconstructive.co.uk

Scottish Building Apprenticeship and Training Council (SBATC)

Scottish enquiries

Address: Crichton House, 4 Crichtons Close, Holyrood, Edinburgh EH8 8DT

Tel: 0131 5568866

Email: registrar@sbatc.co.uk

Website: www.sbatc.co.uk

Construction Industry Training Board (CITB)

Address: Blue Court, Church Lane, Kings Langley, Hertfordshire WD4 8JP

Tel: 01923 260000

Email: ecitb@ecitb.org.uk

Website: careers.ecitb.org.uk

Federation of Plastering and Drywall Contractors (FPDC)

Address: 4th Floor, 61 Cheapside, London EC2V 6AX

Tel: 020 7634 9480

Email: training@fpdc.org

Website: www.fpdc.org

Association of Interior Specialists (AIS)

Address: Olton Bridge, 245 Warwick Road, Solihull, West Midlands B92 7AH

Tel: 0121 7070077

Email: info@ais-interiors.org.uk

Website: www.ais-interiors.org.uk

Academy of Plaster Crafts (APC)

Address: Unit 1, Bluntswall Farm, Bluntswall Road, Billericay, Essex CM12 9SA

Tel: 01277 632187

Email: info@apccourses.co.uk

Website: www.nvqplasteringcourses.co.uk

Knauf

Address: Kemsley Fields Business Park, Sittingbourne, Kent ME9 8SR

Tel: 01795 424499

Email: info@knauf.co.uk

Website: www.knaufdrywall.co.uk

British Gypsum

Address: Head Office, East Leake, Loughborough, Leicestershire LE12 6HX

Tel: 0844 5618810

Website: www.british-gypsum.com

Siniat

Tel: 01275 377581

Email: training@siniat.co.uk

Website: www.siniat.co.uk

Careers Wales - Welsh Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 028 4844

Website: ams.careerswales.com/

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