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Plastering is one of the oldest of the building trades. The walls of the Egyptian tombs constructed 3000 years ago were plastered with a material very similar to that used on the walls of modern buildings.

Plasterers' work generally entails protecting, strengthening, covering and decorating brickwork and concrete by plastering the surface.

They spread sand-cement plaster on the walls and a sand-cement screed on the concrete sub-floors with a trowel. Walls are finished off until smooth, or may even have a brushed or patterned finish. After levelling the concrete floor with the screed, ceramic tiles or other floor finishes are laid. The wall surfaces in kitchens and bathrooms may then be tiled.

The work includes tasks such as the plastering of concrete ceilings and the cutting and fixing of plasterboard ceilings. Plasterers not only apply but also prepare coatings to walls and other surfaces. Some plasterers also do complex decorative and ornamental work, using mouldings or other design accessories.

Satisfying Aspects
- working with your hands creatively, to some extent
- opportunity to specialize in indoor or outdoor work
- opportunity to work without a lot of advanced education
- seeing the results of your work

Demanding aspects
- standing, stooping and lifting all day can be physically tiring
- working in dusty, dirty environments
- lay-offs during bad weather and building industry slumps
- sometimes having to work overtime

A plasterer should:
- be at least 16 years old;
- work well with others;
- enjoy working with his hands;
- work well without supervision;
- be an accurate and neat worker;
- have manual dexterity;
- have good coordination;
- be in good physical health;
- have good form perception.

School Subjects
Grade 9 Certificate.
Grade 10 Certificate or N1 is recommended.

Compulsory Subjects: None
Recommended Subjects: Mathematics

Theoretical training: at the Southern African    Printing College (full-time) or through their Distance Learning Department (part- time)

There are three ways to qualify as a registered artisan:

1. An apprenticeship is a 4-year contract between company and apprentice, comprising a 12-week theoretical training, which includes 4 subjects at national exam level.

2. A learnership is a structured learning programme that leads to a qualification in a certain field. The learnership programme includes a theoretical and a practical component. It usually takes about a year to complete. The training takes place on-site (on the premises of the organisation). This has the advantage that the learner gets on-the-job experience whilst training.

3. FET colleges offer theoretical training to prospective artisans via the new National Certificate Vocational (NCV). During this 3-year programme (levels 2 to 4), learners complete a school-leaving certificate (this NCV) similar to the
new National Senior Certificate (NSC) in schools. They are also exposed to a practical workshop component.

All learners are required to complete a practical internship under the supervision of an experienced artisan. As an alternative to doing the full qualification, a learner can apply to do a skills programme at a FET College. Skills programmes are short practical hands-on courses.

For more information about qualifications and skills programmes, contact your nearest FET College. FET Colleges are accredited and funded by a SETA (Sector Education and Training Authority) such as MERSETA or CHIETA. They also receive bursary funding through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) for the NCV programme.

Learners must all receive training in occupational safety and first aid, fire-fighting and preventative security measures. Learners study everything about the installation, maintenance and repair of all electrical equipment. They must also become familiar with municipal legislation relevant to electricity supply and consumption.

- Trade, building or general contractors
- Government concerns
- Businesses that do their own construction and alteration work
- Self-employment, with enough experience, can practise trade on a private basis or start own business

Construction Education Training Authority (CETA)   
2nd Floor, Unit 5 Momentum Business Park
Main Road
Midrand, 1685
Tel: (011) 265-5900 Fax: (011) 265-5924

Master Builders South Africa (MBSA)
P O Box 1619
Halfway House, 1685
CMA Office and Conference Park
234 Alexandra Avenue
Tel: (011) 205-9000 Fax: (011) 315-1644