How To Become A Plasterer In Australia: A Complete Guide

Students want to know what a plasterer does and if it is a good trade in Australia.

 

Do you have good artistic skills, thrive on challenges and enjoy working with your hands outdoors, then a plasterer job can be worth considering. 

 

Plasterers apply a layer of plaster onto ceilings, walls, and floors. They install insulation, decorative shielding layer of plaster, cement, wall linings and acoustic tiles to buildings.

 

You don’t need formal qualifications to work as a Plasterer in Australia. However, completing an apprenticeship in solid plastering with a Certificate III In Solid Plastering (CPC31011) will help you embark on this career.

 

You may also need registration or licencing to perform the trade in different states of Australia. Keep reading this blog to explore the Plasterer career and how you can pursue it in Australia. 

 

Learn about their daily duties, personal requirements, average salary, employment prospects, and a lot more to find out if it is the right career for you.

 

 

1. What Is Plastering?

 

Plastering holds vital importance in the installation and upkeep of interior and exterior walls of any commercial/domestic construction. It contributes to the aesthetic appearance, insulation, and safety standards of a building.

 

Most non-modular ceilings in apartments and homes use plaster as a prime component and reinforcer. 

 

 

2. What Is A Plasterer?

 

Plasterers are construction specialists responsible for the structural and visual integrity of ceilings and walls of residential and commercial buildings.

 

They develop plans for construction fabrication, perform repairs, and modernize older houses.

 

 

3. What Does A Plasterer Do Australia?

 

Are you planning to become a plasterer? You must know the plasterer’s job description in Australia to understand what duties and tasks you will perform while working in this role. This knowledge will help you in making an informed career decision. 

 

  • Determine plasterboard layout 

  • Measure, mark, and cut plasterboard

  • Create plaster moulds and fittings 

  • Mix and apply coats of a protective and decorative layer of cement, plaster, or related materials to the exteriors and interiors of buildings

  • Apply, fix, and maintain parts of plasterboard, fire rating systems, suspended ceilings, composite wall linings, and acoustic tiles to buildings 

  • Install vapour barriers and insulation 

  • Assemble trestles and scaffolding

  • Create and maintain work conditions as per the safety protocols and standards

  • Position and fix the panels to the ceiling and walls

  • Level and smoothen plaster layers

  • Cover nail holes and joints with the help of plaster, sandpaper, and sealing compounds

  • Straighten corners, walls, angles, and ceiling surfaces

  • Apply finishing coats and fireproofing

 

 

4. Desirable Skills For Plasterer

 

The following are the vital skills to efficiently perform the plasterer’s job:

 

 

Technical Skills

 

  • Good knowledge of a various styles and finishes

  • Familiarity with construction site protocols

  • Conscious of following WHS procedures

  • Able to read, understand and work from building plans

  • Practical construction skills

  • Able to work with complex measurements 

  • Able to execute the vision of the designer or architect

 

 

Soft Skills

 

  • Good hand-eye coordination

  • Passion for practical hands-on work

  • Technical aptitude 

  • Numerical Ability

  • Comfortable working at heights

  • Methodical 

  • Work ethic

  • Exceptional attention to detail

  • Physical fitness and Stamina 

  • Able to work precisely and neatly

  • Good communication skills

  • Not allergic to materials used

  • Artistic eye

 

 

5. Qualifications To Become A Plaster In Australia

 

No formal qualifications are needed to work as a plaster. However, completing an apprenticeship in solid plastering is beneficial as it helps develop skills and knowledge and shows your familiarity with the construction industry to prospective employers. 

 

Here is what academic qualifications and training you need to become a plasterer at 30:

 

  • Complete your Year 10 education

  • Enrol in a Certificate III In Solid Plastering (CPC31011). Based on the employer, the course may take 2-3 years to complete as part of a plastering apprenticeship. Alternatively, you can consider taking Certificate III in Wall and Ceiling Lining course.  

  • To advance your learning in building and construction, you can complete a Diploma of Building and Construction (Building) (CPC50210).

  • You need to obtain the necessary registration or licensing as per state-level regulations.

 

 

6. Steps To Become A Plasterer In Australia

 

 

Step 1: Develop Basic Skills

 

Start by focussing on developing your basic plastering skills.

 

Vocational training in general construction and remodelling will help get a basic knowledge of plastering methods, private enterprises, and contractors. 

 

 

Step 2: Enrol in an Apprenticeship

 

Not being officially qualified could deprive you of a reasonable earning potential, especially when you want to apply for a plasterer’s job. A plastering apprenticeship is the best route to becoming a plasterer in Australia. 

 

It is a combination of college training and onsite work experience. In an apprenticeship program, you work under the supervision of a qualified plasterer. It helps you develop the requisite skills and knowledge while working towards a nationally recognized college qualification. 

 

Completing a plastering apprenticeship paves the path into this high-demand profession. Other benefits include national accreditation, sustained employment, steady income, and a dedicated employer that helps you throughout your professional journey.

 

Many training institutes offer a Certificate III In Solid Plastering or Certificate III in Wall and Ceiling Lining as part of an apprenticeship.

 

Search for “plasterers near me” to find employers willing to provide you with an apprenticeship opportunity.

 

 

Step 3: Gain Work Experience

 

Working under an established plasterer or as a plasterer’s labourer can help you gain specialized practical experience.

 

If you don’t find such an opportunity, you can consider volunteering to gain hands-on experience.

 

 

Step 4: About the Dry Plastering Licence

 

Qualified contractors must hold a dry plastering licence to work as a plasterer in Australia. This license enables you to perform various dry plastering installations and activities.

 

It is also a requirement if you want to advertise, subcontract or contract to perform domestic construction and trade work.

 

Though each state has defined its eligibility qualifications to obtain a dry plastering licence, in most cases, completing the following qualifications will qualify you for this license.

 

  • Certificate III in Wall and Ceiling Lining

  • Certificate III in Wall and Ceiling Lining

  • Certificate III in Wall and Ceiling Lining

  • Certificate III in Fibrous Plaster and Plasterboard Trade 

  • Certificate III in Plastering, Fibrous, and Plasterboard Trade

  • Certificate III in General Construction (Wall and Ceiling Lining)

  • Certificate III in Wall and Ceiling Lining (current)

 

Those with several years of experience, but don’t have a formal qualification, need to get their skills and work experience assessed through Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) to achieve an equivalent qualification.

 

 

7. How To Obtain A General Skilled Migration Visa To Work As A Plasterer In Australia?

 

If you are an overseas applicant and want to work as a Plasterer in Australia, then follow the below steps:

 

  • Step 1: Enrol in the Certificate III in Solid Plastering and Certificate IV in Building and Construction (Building) course.

 

  • Step 2: After graduation, undertake 360 hours of work in an Australian vocational placement or workplace during your studies. Once this is done, you will be eligible to apply for the temporary work visa – “485 Graduate Visa”. This visa enables you to live and work in Australia for up to 18 months.

 

  • Step 3: While holding the Graduate Visa, undertake the Job Ready Program through Trades Recognition Australia. It is a fully-paid 12 months’ work experience where you work as a Solid Plasterer. Completing this program enables you to obtain a positive skills assessment for migration purposes.

 

  • Step 4: Once you receive a positive skills assessment as a Solid Plasterer, you qualify to apply for permanent work visas - General Skilled Migration (Subclass 189 or 190), or 491. When you meet the 2-year work experience eligibility criteria for a Temporary Short Skilled Subclass 482 Visa, you can apply for employer sponsorship.

 

  • Step 5: Both dry and wet plasterers need registration and licensing. However, the rules for the same may differ amongst the states and territories. It is necessary to check your respective state/territory regulation authority to learn about the exact licensing requirements. Obtain the required licenses to carry out the job in that location.

 

 

8. How Much Is A Plasterer’s Wage In Australia?

 

The average plasterer’s wage depends on various factors, including qualifications, skills, area of specialization, relevant work experience, type of position, work location, room size, and the type of plastering service offered.

 

The average plasterer’s hourly rate in Australia is AU$29.77 or an equivalent to AU$60,655. According to Indeed jobs, the apprentice plasterer’s salary in Australia is $500 a week. 

 

Here is what a plasterer can expect to earn with varying experience: 

 

  • Entry-level Plasterer (< 1-year experience): AU$19.72 

  • Early career Plasterer (1-4 years of experience): AU$24.85 

  • Mid-career Plasterer (5-9 years of experience): AU$29.29 

  • Experienced Plasterer (10-19 years of experience): AU$34.81 

 

Plasterers earn the highest in the following cities in Australia:

 

  • Perth, Western Australia: $80,056 per year

  • Mornington Peninsula, Victoria: $74,994 per year

  • Canberra, Australian Capital Territory: $74,669 per year

  • Melbourne, Victoria: $73,182 per year

  • Sydney, New South Wales: $66,359 per year

  • Brisbane, Queensland: $62,296 per year

  • Burwood, New South Wales: $55,000 per year

  • Bendigo, Victoria: $52,503 per year

 

 

9. Where Do Plasterers Work In Australia?

 

A qualified plasterer familiarized with the plastering procedures can work either as a subcontractor or as an independent tradesman.

 

Opportunities are available within a contracting or construction company to work on external and internal finishes as part of the residential building construction, renovation, or restoration work.

 

Specialist Plasterers work in remodelling or construction projects that require conforming to the project’s schematics or blueprints.

 

 

10. Work Conditions For Plasterers In Australia

 

Plasterers work in a construction environment during standard business hours. Solid plasterers are exposed to dusty conditions. They may work indoors and outdoors, either independently or in teams of 2 or 3 workers and directly deal with the public.

 

It is a physically demanding profession that requires spending a lot of time on their feet and may require driving too.

 

 

11. Employment Opportunities For A Sold Plasterer

 

The most common workplaces where plasterers work are government departments related to public works or small businesses.

 

Once they gain years of experience and develop the essential skills, many solid plasterers choose to set up their businesses and work as self-employed.

 

As plasterwork is highly diverse, experienced plasterers pursue further studies in various areas such as factory work, modelling, or maintenance to gain specialized knowledge and progress in their careers.

 

The most common areas of Specialization include:

 

  • Plasterboard fixer or Gyprock plasterer: This type of plasterer specializes in the installation of plasterboard sheets.

 

  • Modeller’s hand: They have a good understanding of the plaster structure and protocol and specialize in forming plaster moulds in factories.

 

  • Wet plasterer: They apply wet solutions made of sand, water, cement, or lime to external or internal walls and ceilings to render panels. 

 

 

12. Job Prospects For Plasterer In Australia

 

Plastering is one of the crucial elements in the thriving construction industry in Australia. Solid Plasterers are on the Medium-Term and Long-Term Strategic Skills List, which shows a deficit in the supply of these workers.

 

It presents promising and exciting future job opportunities for registered and licenced plasterers within the construction industry. According to Labour Markets Insights, the number of plasterers in Australia has grown. The trend will continue in the next five years.

 

 

Working arrangements

 

Around 78% of Plasterers work full-time for an average of 43 hours per week. Construction is the industry that employs 96.6% of qualified plasterers in Australia.

 

Other industries include: 

 

  • Wholesale trade: 2.1%

  • Manufacturing: 0.8%

  • Education and training: 0.4%

 

 

Percentage Employment of Plasterers across Australia:

 

  • New South Wales: 26.5%

  • Victoria: 26.9%

  • Queensland: 21.4%

  • South Australia: 6.6%

  • Western Australia: 14.9% (large employment share concerning population size.)

  • Tasmania: 1.9%

  • Northern Territory: 0.6%

  • Australian Capital Territory: 1.2%

 

 

Gender and Age Profile

 

Only 1% of female plasterers constitute the overall workforce. It is low compared to the average of all other jobs, 48%.

 

The average age of Plasterers is 37 years, with most in the age group between 25 and 34.

 

 

13. Is Plastering A Good Trade?

 

Plastering is skill-based trade. When done correctly, it gives a high-quality finish and an impressive appearance to a property.

 

With millions of homes in Australia and many new homes under construction each year, the plasterer's skills like skimming, boarding, dry lining, and rendering are needed.

 

Along with favourable employment prospects, plasterers also earn a good wage which makes this profession quite rewarding and satisfying.

 

However, it is necessary to note that plastering depends heavily on technique. The trade work requires training, on-the-job learning, and experience. To become a good plasterer, you must put in years of consistent hard work and patience to perfect your skill.

 

So, those keen to work in this profession should start learning the trade that involves: tools, mixing plaster, and understanding the varying conditions that help you get the final finish. Once you have the skills, you can further specialize within the construction industry or set up and run your business.

 

To sum up, a career in the plastering trade is worth pursuing due to the plenty of benefits it offers:

 

  • A good salary

  • Strong future demand and Job Prospects 

  • A life-long skill

  • Opportunities to work self-employed

  • Earn while you learn

  • Inexpensive learning 

 

 

14. Conclusion

 

Whether it is an existing or new construction, plastering is one of the in-demand trades that property developers and owners will continue to rely on in the future.

 

As the job requires experience and skill, plasterers are in high demand, with many steady work opportunities.

 

If you wish to make a career in plastering, completing training, such as a Certificate III In Solid Plastering or Wall and Ceiling Lining, is the ideal route to pursue this career.

 

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