How To Become A Plasterer In Australia: A Complete Guide

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Students want to know how to become plasterers in Australia to do plastering jobs.


A plasterer job is worth considering if you have good artistic skills, thrive on challenges, and enjoy working with your hands outdoors.


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


This blog will teach you about the plasterer's daily duties, personal requirements, plastering jobs, qualifications, courses, apprenticeships, how long it takes, average salary, employment prospects, steps to becoming one, and more.



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 modernise older houses.



3. What Does A Plasterer Do In Australia?


Are you planning to become a plasterer? You must know the plasterer's job description in Australia to understand your duties and tasks 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 in 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 perform the plasterer's job efficiently:



Technical Skills


  • Good knowledge of 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 are 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, 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 me 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 recognised 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 specialised practical experience. 


If you are still looking for such an opportunity, consider volunteering to gain hands-on experience.



Step 4: Get A Dry Plastering Licence


Qualified contractors must have 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 without formal qualifications 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 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. After this, 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. These include qualifications, skills, area of specialisation, relevant work experience, type of position, work location, room size, and the plastering service offered.


The average plasterer's hourly rate in Australia is AU$ 29.77, or 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 familiar with the plastering procedures can work either as a subcontractor or as an independent tradesperson.


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. They may work indoors and outdoors, either independently or in teams of 2 or 3 workers and directly deal with the public. Further, they may work in dusty environments, which is part of their job.


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 is government departments related to public works or small businesses.


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


As plasterwork is highly diverse, they pursue further studies in various areas such as factory work, modelling, or maintenance to gain specialised knowledge.


The most common areas of specialisation include:


  • Plasterboard Fixer or Gyprock Plasterer: This type of plasterer specialises in the installation of plasterboard sheets.


  • Modeller's Hand: They have a good understanding of the plaster structure and protocol and specialise 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 specialise 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


Plastering is one of the in-demand trades that property developers and owners will continue to rely on.


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


If you want to make a career in plastering, complete training, such as a Certificate III In Solid Plastering or Wall and Ceiling Lining. It is the standard way to pursue this career.


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