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The plasterer is indispensible to most building sites – making walls and ceilings smooth and ready for decorating.
Average salaries are in the region of £12,000.00 to £28,000.00. Salaries will vary depending on location / employer
The plasterer is indispensable to most building sites – making walls and ceilings smooth and ready for decorating.
Working in construction as a plasterer usually involves being part of a small team, and doing either solid or fibrous plastering. Solid plastering means applying wet finishes to surfaces and putting protective coverings such as pebble-dashing on external walls.
They mix and apply different kinds of plaster to inside walls and ceilings and cover outside walls with coatings such as sand and cement render, pebble-dash, stone-effect materials and even machine-applied finishings.
Fibrous plastering means creating ornamental plasterwork (such as ceiling roses and cornices) using a mixture of plaster and short fibres shaped with moulds and casts.
Plasterers are needed everywhere from small domestic jobs and repair or restoration of a person’s home to big commercial developments including offices, schools and hospitals. It's therefore one of the most in-demand construction jobs you can find.
Salaries depend on location, employer and any overtime you may do. Self-employed plasterers set their own pay rates.
My day is made up of a lot of different jobs. Of course there's the "hands-on" plastering but then there is the project management, staff management, meeting clients, quoting for work, trouble-shooting and managing the finances of the businesses.
I struggled with written work at school as I had dyslexia – not widely diagnosed at that time. I knew that I would not be able to work in an office so I looked at what options were open to me within a manual role. My mum knew a plasterer that was looking for a labourer so I thought I would give that a try.
I really enjoy my job, every day I get to see the end product. We can restore a tired and damaged building to its former state, as we would say "making yesterday a part of today". I also get to see some amazing buildings, especially when we are doing the heritage sites.
You need to be hands on, as plastering is a physical job. You have to know the products and understand how to project manage a job, which will be different depending on the materials you are using. You need to be able to work out the measurements and produce quotes. You have to be adaptable. Variations in the materials, weather or clients’ needs can mean your careful planning goes out the window.
People skills are really important. I can be working with five or six clients at a time and you have to understand what they want and how to deal with their expectations. You have to be able to manage teams of people. I have up to four different teams working at different sites and they all expect me to make sure that they have everything they need.
I started my construction career as a labourer and ended up as a director. I still enjoy being hands on and I know that I still work to a really high and professional standard.
Hopefully retired but more likely I’ll have grown my business and will be less involved physically but still meeting clients and project managing jobs. More holidays would be good!
Jobs in the construction industry, like everything else, are changing because of technology. The physical work will change slightly as new products come to market, but it is technology that will impact on how you run your business on a day-to-day basis. I now go to work with my iPhone and iPad. I record everything I do and marketing is essential. It’s competitive and professional and that is what you will have to be too.
There are no set qualifications to become a plasterer, but employers usually look for people with some on-site experience. However, Standard grades or National 4 or 5s or equivalent in English, maths and a technological subject are helpful. If you have not worked in construction before, you may be able to get this experience by working as a plasterer's "mate" or labourer.
A common way into plastering is through an apprenticeship scheme with a plastering firm. The range of construction apprenticeships available in your area will depend on the local jobs market and the types of skills employers need from their workers.
If you cannot get on to an apprenticeship, there are college courses where you can study a qualification such as Level 1,2 & 3 Diploma in Plastering.
Try our Matching Service for work experience opportunities in your local area, with new opportunities being added on a regular basis.
Here are some construction vacancy websites you may find useful:
According to the latest Construction Skills Network research, the UK construction industry will need an additional 47,500 plasterers between 2017 - 2021. The highest demand for these construction jobs will be in the North West followed by South West, East Midlands, Greater London, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Explore the progression opportunities below