Plastering – Apprenticeships

The work of the Plasterer includes the preparation and application of protective covering to interior and exterior building surfaces.

Before applying protective coverings to building surfaces a Plasterer would mark out an area of wall to be covered, mix up their own materials and apply the base coat plaster to the wall area. The surface would be levelled off and then scratched in preparation for the second coat.

The second coat of plaster is applied to the required thickness on the uneven wall. When the two base coats are dry, the Plasterer spreads on and smooths out a final thin coat of plaster to finish the wall. Outside walls are done with the same method but instead of plaster, a sand and cement mix is used.

A Plasterer also can apply decorative marking and finishes to a wall, such as pebble-dash, to achieve a required finish. In addition, a plasterer may be required to lay the finishing surface of cement floors for houses, factories and garages. Plasterers are generally employed in the construction industry or may be self-employed. Fibrous plasterers may work from architects’ designs or copy pieces of plasterwork from artists’ drawings or from photographs to produce ornamental work.

Plasterers require many skills including:

• Working with a variety of specialised hand and power tools
• Knowledge of properties of a range of materials and chemicals
• Working quickly and to a high standard for finishing
• Performing a range of techniques to include decorative and ornamental work
• Interpreting technical drawings and specifications
• Producing decorative panels by molding and casting plaster in workshops
• Planning and organising plastering jobs

Note: If you suffer from an allergy or skin complaint, the chemicals that you use may affect you.

Work Aspects

Learning and developing new practical craft-related skills, knowledge and competence
•Working with and learning from experienced craftspersons
•Seeing a job through from start to finish
•Comply with Health and Safety requirements
•Working with drawings and diagrams or photos/ paintings
•Accuracy and attention to detail
•Being well organised and careful with practical tasks
•Working at heights
•Working indoors and outdoors
•Lifting or carrying heavy items
•Being physically active and on your feet
•Taking responsibility for own learning, including the allocation of study time
•Bending, lifting and stretching
•Passing all your phase exams (theory, practical skills demonstration)
•Earning as you learn

Phase 1: With Employer
•Induction Training
•Introduction to Health & Safety
•Introduction to Tools & Equipment
•Introduction to Basic Skills
Phase 2: Delivered in Training Centre (20 weeks)
Course Content:
•Slabbing, Rendering, Floating & Skimming
•External Work
•Slabbing, Skimming, Dry Lining & Floors
Phase 3: With Employer
Work Based Training and Assessments
Phase 4: Delivered in Educational Colleges (10 weeks)
Course Content:
•Expanded Metal
•External Finishes
•Decorative Plasterwork
•Pitched Roofs
Phase 5: With Employer
Work Based Training and Assessments
Phase 6: Delivered in Educational Colleges (10 weeks)
Course Content:
•Metal Systems
•Advanced Mouldwork
•External Finishes
•Wall & Floor Tiling
Phase 7: With Employer
Work Based Training and Assessments
The overall duration of this apprenticeship is a minimum
of 4 years provided all phases are successfully completed.
On successful completion of the programme the learner
is awarded a Level 6 Advanced Certificate Craft – Plastering.
As a Plasterer you will need to be physically active and to be able to work with your hands.
An awareness of health and safety and good housekeeping is essential as well as attention to detail and an eye for the aesthetic.
 The Plasterer must have the ability to:
•Plan and organise
•Communicate effectively
•Solve problems
•Work independently and as part of a team
•Show a positive attitude
•Recognise the need for good customer relations
•Demonstrate good work practices including time keeping, tidiness, responsibility, quality awareness and safety awareness
The minimum age at which the employment of an apprentice may commence is 16 years of age.
The minimum educational requirements are:
1. Grade D in five subjects in the Department of Education & Skills Junior Certificate Examination or an approved equivalent,
2. The successful completion of an approved Pre-Apprenticeship course
3. Three years’ work experience gained over sixteen years of age in a relevant designated industrial activity as SOLAS shall deem acceptable
Note: These are the current approved minimum educational requirements for apprenticeship programmes, however, previous experience of the following subjects would be an advantage but not essential:
•Technical Drawing/Graphics
•Construction Studies
You must obtain employment as an apprentice in your chosen occupation.
•The employer must be approved to train apprentices.
•The employer must register you as an apprentice within two weeks of recruitment.
On successful completion of the apprenticeship programme, apprentices are qualified to work within the recognised trade or profession.
Where apprentices and craftspersons have the necessary ability, initiative and basic qualifications, opportunities are available for advancement. These include advanced technology courses and management courses which are available in Institutes of Technology, Schools of Management and Professional Institutes.
Many craftspersons use their apprenticeship qualification as a platform to launch careers such as engineers, managers, owners of businesses, teachers and instructors amongst others.
As a plasterer you will have significant opportunity to start your own business.