Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Donal Og Cusack from Sustainable Energy Authority to give some advice for people considering this job:

Donal Og Cusack

Automation/Energy Engineer

Sustainable Energy Authority

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Donal Og Cusack
Some of the best people I know still aren’t sure what they want to do, my advice would be to give it a go. If you don’t like it you can always try something else. Whatever is in your heart follow it, don’t be something just because someone in your family is. Whether you’re looking to be a leader, a designer or come up with new ideas and a better way of doing things, make sure it’s something that fills you with passion.

Enterprising people like situations that involve using resources for personal or corporate economic gain. Such people may have an opportunistic frame of mind, and like commerce, trade and making deals. Some are drawn to sales and marketing occupations. Many will eventually end up owning their own business, or managing a section in larger organisations. They tend to be very goal-oriented, and work best when focused on a target. Some have an entrepreneurial inclination.
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In Summary header image


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.

Training header image

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:
  • Induction
  • 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.

Personal Qualities header image

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

Work Activities header image

  • 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

Pay & Fees header image

Funding Arrangements

All apprentices are paid a Training Allowance while attending off-the-job training in training centres or college, and an Apprentice Rate of pay during the on-the-job phases of their apprenticeship.

Details of the Training Allowances payable are available here.

What apprentice rate wages are paid?

Apprentice rates are paid for the on-the-job phases of apprenticeships. The actual rates paid may vary depending on the occupation and employer. Generally, the rates will increase in a number of steps during the apprenticeship. For example:


All other Trades




€ / hr

€ / hr

1st Year Rate

2nd Year Rate

3rd Year Rate

4th Year Rate









Note: You should always seek details of specific rates of pay for apprentices from prospective employers.

Apprentice Student Contribution

The Annual Student Contribution is levied on students attending Higher Education Institutions including Institutes of Technology. As part of the changes included in Budget 2014, apprentices now pay the same contribution as full time students, but their contribution is based on the time they spend in the Institute or College.

The Student Contribution is payable to the IoT /College on the date of registration for the training phase. You should consult the relevant IoT/College for details of payment options.

Note: Apprentices are required to pay an examination fee to the IoT or College for repeat exams. 

Female Apprentices' bursary for employers

To promote the entry of women into the designated apprenticeships, a bursary is available to employers to encourage an increased level of recruitment of female apprentices.

For more information Click here or contact your local ETB Training Centre.

Entry Requirements header image

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
  • Technology
  • Mathematics

Getting an Apprenticeship header image

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.
Are you interested in a construction apprenticeship?
If so, register your interest by creating an account and uploading a short personal profile via this link.

Career Opportunities header image

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.

Occupation Profile header image

Progression Routes header image

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Apprentice Plasterer