How to Get a Job as a Professional Plasterer
Plastering is an intricate job that involves an in-demand set of skills. Wherever you look, buildings require smooth finishings to their brickwork. In fact, plastering has become an essential aspect of modern construction. There is, therefore, no shortage of jobs for men and women aspiring to work in plastering. If you’re interested in following this career trajectory, here’s how to get started.
What Does a Plasterer Do?
Plasterers mix plaster and stucco for smooth finishes to walls, houses, monuments and other buildings. Plasterers also patch up holes in walls and ceilings. They remove loose plaster, fill up cracks, and cover metal, brick, wood and tile surfaces.
Education and Training
In the past, aspiring plasterers simply joined apprenticeship and got trained on the job. These days, competition for apprenticeships is stiffer, so it’s a good idea to consider a pre-apprenticeship course to get the edge on the rest.
Colleges and technical schools all over the country offer pre-apprenticeships. For plastering, consider doing a Certificate III in solid plastering. Here, you’ll learn about the theory and practice informing contemporary plaster work. You’ll also discover where plastering is most applied, i.e. residential projects and restoration endeavours for old buildings.
In your first year, you will study core units that cover all of the basics. These include the use of plastering tools, techniques for applying set coats, and preparing brick surfaces for plaster. Then, in your second and third years, you will specialise in a selection of electives. Sustainable construction, cornice-restoration, textured finishes and pre-cast decorative mouldings are some of the topics that are addressed in a plastering elective course.
This pre-apprenticeship lasts for three years, and can be completed through part-time study. This is usually followed by an apprenticeship of two years, which includes on-the-job training and some pay. This course is concluded in the form of oral or written tests.
If you want to skip the pre-apprenticeship and try for an apprenticeship, browse the web or your local newspaper for a vacancy. Plastering companies usually offer apprenticeships for determined and hard-working workers, ready to make an impact in the field. Apprenticeships usually last for four years.
Can Anyone Be a Plasterer?
All plasterers need to have masterful control over material, methods and equipment for solid plasterwork. Note that it’s not a job for the nervous – many plastering jobs take place at heights, which means that you may have to spend much of your work day dangling from a scaffold. Plasterers may also be required to work weekends and evenings should deadlines be tight. Therefore, it’s important to be flexible with your time, especially when starting out.
It’s also important to be organised with time and money. A successful plasterer knows how to manage the finances of the company: to estimate the cost of a project, draw up bills, invoices and business plans. Communication is also vital to the running of a fruitful plastering business. Often, you’ll be required to talk to clients about their construction needs. You will also be expected to work well with other construction staff, like bricklayers and interior architects.