How to become a plasterer

When construction is taking place, the finishing off of the build begins with the plasterers. Before, painters can play their part they want beautiful smooth, straight walls for a canvas. The plasterer prepares the walls for painting transforming the rough edges of the finished build to smooth attractive surfaces. They may work their magic in domestic or commercial buildings. Plasterers have a physical job which in many ways is really a craft. The skill is learned and perfected over time. The work is rewarding and physical. Usually, the work begins with measuring, cutting and fitting the plasterboard. Sometimes, laying membranes and insulation first. As well as preparing walls plasterers may also fit moulds to give some grandeur to the room. Then, once you have fitted the plasterboard the real skilled work begins. The plastering itself. Skilled workers have many opportunities, working for larger construction firms or starting their own business.

Do you love to work with your hands? Would you love to learn a skilled trade which will reliably provide job opportunities? Then, why not consider becoming a plasterer? Check out the steps you need to take to realise your dream. 

Step one: Take a Construction Course

In order to gain a place on an apprenticeship program, you will need to demonstrate good knowledge of the construction industry. Taking a course before you apply for an apprenticeship will demonstrate your commitment to the field. Above all the course will give you the foundation and background knowledge you need to start an apprenticeship.

Step two: Look for an apprenticeship

Next, once you have gained your qualifications you can begin to look for an apprenticeship. When applying remember to tailor your resume and cover letter for each application. Moreover, make sure you mention your qualifications, your personal strengths and any relevant experience you have. As long as you have completed year 10 you can apply for an apprenticeship.

Step three: Apply for a licence

To work as a plasterer in Australia you need to have general industry experience and a licence from relevant building and construction peak bodies. Before you get started with your studies, make sure you double check the resources and what is required when applying for a licence. 

Step four: Consider a specialism

After you have built up experience and perfected your skills, you may want to consider specialising. There are many specialisations which plasterers can progress into. Here are three possibilities to bear in mind.

Plasterboard Fixer

This role is focused on fixing the plasterboard and cornices into place on the site. Measuring, cutting and fixing will be the focus of your day. This role is mostly found in larger construction companies with big builds to tackle. 

Modellers Hand

You work in a factory and make plaster moulds. This job takes a step away from the construction industry and towards making smaller objects which you may create moulds for. The scope of the work is varied and the need covers a number of industries.

Wet Plasterer

Also, known as solid plasterers you specialise in applying the final coats of plaster to the plasterboard. You make up the plaster, using cement, sand, water or lime. Then you apply the plaster to the walls prepped with plasterboard

What do Plasterers Do?

You will need to understand architectural plans and use these to calculate the materials needed for the job. Self-employed plasterers will also prepare a quote. If you are working for a company you may not write the quote up yourself. Usually, the plasterer will order and bring the materials onsite. Next, measuring, cutting and fitting the plasterboard. You may need to apply insulation or moisture prevention layers first. Once the plasterboard is fitted you mix the plaster and apply to the walls. Naturally, your skills will result in beautifully smooth walls, ready for painting. For the most part, you work onsite every day. Sometimes you can find opportunities to work in a factory making plaster moulds and fittings. As well as plastering rooms from scratch, you may also carry out repairs. Work can take place on residential or commercial sites.

Tasks

  • Making measurements on plasterboard
  • Fitting insulation and moisture barriers
  • Cutting then fixing the plasterboard
  • Mixing plaster
  • Plastering the walls
  • Fixing and maintaining plasterboard fittings
  • Repairing damaged walls
  • Assembling scaffold and trestles

Skills for Success

You should have a strong work ethic and enjoy working with your hands. Most of the time, you will work on construction sites, so you will need to know WHS procedures. At the same time, you need to know good health and safety practices. You should have reasonable maths skills to make calculations for material quantities. In addition, you will need to pay attention to detail, which is important when measuring plasterboard. At least, when working on ceilings you will work at height, so you need to be comfortable with that. If you are a perfectionist this will stand you in good stead. That’s how you make sure your walls are the smoothest! It will help if you are in good physical condition. 

Skills and attributes

  • A knack with numbers and making calculations
  • Enjoy working with your hands
  • Comfortable working at heights
  • Methodical work ethic
  • Pays attention to detail
  • In good physical condition
  • Knowledge of the construction industry and best practices

How much do Plasterer’s make in Australia?

In Australia, plasterers earn a median wage of $52,876 per year. This varies according to a number of factors and is intended as a reference only, from Payscale 05/’18.

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