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How to become a tiler in Australia: careers in tiling

During the construction and renovation processes of domestic and commercial spaces, wall and floor tilers add the final cosmetic and protective touches to certain surfaces. Tilers lay tiles of ceramic, stone glass or other substances as specified in design briefs. They prepare surfaces to be tiled, select and cut tiles to fit, prepare and apply adhesives, lay tiles, and apply grouting and sealants. To work as a tiler in Australia you need to complete a vocational training program consisting of an apprenticeship and hands-on instruction.
Pathways

Being a tiler: daily duties

Tilers provide cosmetic and protective touches to surfaces by adorning them with tiles. This can be for decorative or functional purposes or a mix of the two. Tilers consult the briefs they receive for jobs and calculate the number and type of tiles they will need and plan how they will lay them and execute the work. Tilers need to have an in-depth knowledge of the types of tiles and materials appropriate for different surfaces. They also need to know how to prepare a surface and use the correct adhesives to keep tiles in place.

Tasks:

  • Cutting and shaping tiles
  • Removing old tiles and preparing surfaces
  • Making and applying cement and adhesives
  • Waterproofing and grouting tiles
Skills

Being a tiler: skills for success

Tiling is often a very strenuous, physically demanding job requiring a lot of heavy lifting and working with your hands. As such, a high level of physical fitness is needed. Tilers also need a thorough understanding of their craft including good spatial awareness and good measurement and mathematical skills. The ability to communicate with and listen to clients is also essential, to ensure that client requirements are met.
Skills/attributes
  • Attention to detail
  • Eye for style and design
  • Physically fit
  • Able to communicate clearly with clients
  • Comfortable working at heights or in small spaces
Specs

Specialised roles within tiling

Qualified tilers have a variety of career opportunities available to them. They can choose to build on their skills and specialise in a particular style of tiling or follow an interest in ceramics to make their own tiles. Tilers can also use the skills they gained in tiling to pursue a new vocation.
  • Tiling with tessellated tiles
    Some tiling specialists work specifically with the tessellated tiles that were used in Federation and Victorian era homes in Australia. As more homeowners are interested in preserving the heritage aspects of their homes, tilers with this specialisation are in demand.
  • Self-employed tilers
    When a tiler has enough experience they can elect to work for themselves as a freelancer. They may take on contract work with various companies or may start their own tiling business.
  • Stonemason
    Additional specialised training is required to become a stonemason, however experience as a tiler would demonstrate understanding and practical knowledge of the tools and processes involving working with stone and cement.
Pathways

Educational pathways for tilers

There are a range of pathways available to those considering a career in tiling. It is also a perquisite to obtain a Construction Induction Card to work on a construction site in Australia.
  • Start your career
    Get your tiling career underway with a course that will give you trade experience.
  • Strengthen your skills
    Targeted study options will allow you to work towards becoming a tiling professional.
  • Build your resume
    Complete a course of study that will give you an understanding of the tiling trade and help you demonstrate your skills.
  • Industry requirements
    To work on a construction site in Australia, you must have a Construction Induction Card.
  • Finding Work
    Put your training to good use and get the best professional head start in your tiling career. Emphasise your personal strengths and achievements in your resume and target your cover letter to the job description listed.
  • Employment Prospects
    There is strong growth expected in employment opportunities for wall and floor tilers over the next five years.

Resources for Tiler

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