Most new builds and many renovation projects require plasterers, so they are a vital trade in the construction industry. Plasterers are responsible for smoothing internal walls and ceilings, creating a decorative finish on them or applying render and specialist finishes to external walls. Plasterers enjoy being able to breathe new life into a space and giving a room a fresh feel, and customers are very appreciative of the work plasterers do.

The Government has committed to a target of building 300,000 new houses per year by the mid-2020s, so demand for plasterers has never been higher!

Here we will explore what to expect from a plastering apprenticeship, the entry requirements, future career path and progression opportunities, and earning potential.

What to expect from a plastering apprenticeship

A plastering apprenticeship with a construction company is a great way into the construction industry. Apprenticeships are open to anyone over the age of 16. Your time as a plastering apprentice will typically be split between your employer and college or training provider. You will be working a minimum of 30 hours per week, with the rest (usually 8-10 hours) at your training provider. Your training provider will typically tell you when and where your training will be.

How long does a plastering apprenticeship take?

The Level 2 apprenticeship training course for plasterers takes three years to complete at an accredited college.

What will you learn during a plastering apprenticeship?

Level 1 course

The Level 1 course is the basic introduction to plastering for apprentices. It develops the skills required for employment and/or career progression in plastering. Apprentices will learn how to:

  • Prepare background surfaces and mix plastering materials
  • Apply scratch coats to internal backgrounds
  • Fix sheet materials
  • Apply floating coats to walls
  • Apply setting coats to walls.

Level 2 course

The Level 2 intermediate course is the recognised qualification for apprentice plasterers. It covers solid and fibrous plasterwork, with the chance to specialise in one or the other. During the course, you will produce work in a workshop and cover areas such as:

  • Identifying and preparing surfaces for plastering
  • Fixing and jointing plasterboard
  • Applying solid plastering systems using one, two and three coat plastering to internal surfaces
  • Rendering
  • Constructing in-situ and running moulds
  • Repairing, renovating and restoring plaster
  • Casting in fibrous plaster
  • Fixing and installing cast mouldings
  • Learning how to work safely.

How much do apprentice plasterers earn?

During the apprenticeship, plasterers can expect to earn between £11,000-£13,000, but this may be higher in some areas, such as London. Once an apprentice qualifies the starting salary will be in the range of £19,000-£25,000.

Entry requirements

  • Up to 2 GCSEs at grades 3 to 1 (D to G), or equivalent (level 1 course)
  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent (level 2 course).

GCSEs or equivalent qualifications in English and Maths are entry requirements for the Level 2 course. The Level 1 and Level 2 apprentice plastering courses may be available at your local college or vocational training provider. Find a course near you.

What qualifications do apprentice plasterers achieve?

Apprentice plasterers will achieve the Level 1, Level 2 NVQ Diploma or Level 3 Extended Diploma in Plastering.

Prospects and career progression

Plastering offers good opportunities to progress your career. If you work as part of a team, you could progress into a supervisory role to earn a higher salary. The Level 3 Advanced Diploma could help you achieve this. You could also move into a related area such as drylining, ceiling fixing or become a partitioning systems operative.

You could specialise to become a construction site engineer or technician, or set up as a self-employed subcontractor.

How to apply for a plastering apprenticeship

To apply for a Level 2 plastering apprenticeship, visit the Government’s apprenticeship service and find a course near you. and find a course near you. You can also search for apprenticeships via Talentview.

Learn more about apprenticeships in construction

There are hundreds of apprenticeships available in the construction industry. Earn while you learn and gain the qualifications and experience you need for a role in the construction sector.

Find out more.

Find out more about a career as a plasterer

For more information about what working as a plasterer is like, check out the job role on Go Construct.