Exterior Plastering

Plasterers apply the exterior skin to buildings.  They have to make sure the finish looks good and is weathertight.

No Fees

All Exterior Plaster qualifications are free until 2023. Find out more.

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Job Prospects

Very good

Total Fees

FREE until 2023 (previously $2,000–3,000)

Time to qualify

2–3 years (depends on qualification)

Career opportunities

Leading hand, supervisor, project manager, business owner


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See it for real

Play online nowExplore the BCITO My Virtual Construction Site to see if this is the right trade for you.

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What plasterers do

Plasterers are required to learn a wide range of skills on the job, from selecting and measuring the right materials to applying and creating the required finish. There are two exterior plaster specialities in New Zealand (some professional plasterers choose to specialise in both):

Solid plaster: Apply protective and decorative coats of sand and cement-based plaster.

PPCS (Proprietary Plaster Cladding System): Install a variety of exterior cladding substrates and finish them with coats of plaster modified to form a 'system' with the particular substrate.

Watch this and see what it's like working as an Exterior Plasterer.

Plaster qualifications

The BCITO manages apprenticeships for exterior plastering. In your apprenticeship you will be working towards one of the following qualifications:

You will work under an experienced plasterer who'll provide on-job coaching and support throughout your apprenticeship. You'll also receive the guidance of a BCITO training advisor.

There are no strict entry requirements, although it will help if you have good maths and English skills – you need to be able to understand instructions and work out measurements, quantities and angles.

Your apprenticeship is the start of a professional career

Working with plaster isn't just a job – it's a professional career. Much of your work will be contracting to larger firms in the construction industry; you might also get into the retail industry, consulting with clients and other plasterers on products to ensure the aesthetics and finish of a job are up to standard – particularly in relation to weathertightness.

By doing an apprenticeship and getting qualified, you're setting yourself up for ongoing employment as a well-paid tradesperson. You’ll also open up opportunities to do further study in supervision or site management, go to university, or start a business and train your own apprentices.