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Gas Network Engineer

Source of Information: Next Step / DirectGov / Careers Advice Service

Gas Network Engineer

The Work

As a gas network engineer, you would install and maintain the pipelines that supply homes and businesses with gas. You may also be known as a service layer or mains layer, depending on the size of the pipes you worked with.

Your job would include:

  • digging holes by hand or using mechanical digging equipment
  • using maps and plans to trace where you need to dig
  • laying and repairing pipes and mains systems
  • connecting homes and businesses to the gas network
  • installing and maintaining gas pressure control equipment
  • responding to emergency gas leaks
  • filling in holes and repairing pavements and gardens when your work is done.

You must follow strict safety procedures at all times, and your work must meet the standards laid down by the gas company and the Health and Safety Executive.

Hours and Environment

You would work around 37 hours a week, plus any overtime as necessary. You would usually work a rota with a mixture of day shifts and some unsocial hours, as work is often carried out at night or at the weekend to minimise disruption.

This is mainly an outdoor job, working in all weather conditions. You would be provided with protective clothing like safety boots and high-visibility vests. The work can be physically demanding.

Skills and Interests


  • good practical skills
  • the ability to follow technical plans and diagrams
  • physical fitness
  • willingness to work in all weather conditions
  • a polite and professional manner with the public
  • a responsible and safety-conscious attitude to work
  • the ability to work as part of a team.

Entry

You do not always need formal qualifications to become a gas network engineer, although you will need a good standard of general education. You should check entry requirements with individual employers.

However, you will often get into this type of work through an Apprenticeship scheme. For this, most employers ask for at least four GCSEs (A-C), including maths, English, and another relevant subject such as science, engineering or design and technology.

The range of Apprenticeships available in your area will depend on the local jobs market and the types of skills employers need from their workers. To find out more about Apprenticeships, visit www.apprenticeships.org.uk.

If you are not joining the industry through an apprenticeship scheme, you will find it useful to have previous experience or qualifications in engineering, building services engineering, plumbing or construction.

The job usually involves driving a van around your local area, so a driving licence would be an advantage.

Training

Your training will be a mixture of learning on the job from experienced staff, and some formal courses at a training centre. You may also work towards one or more of the following qualifications:

  • NVQ levels 1, 2 and 3 in Gas Network Operations (Mains Laying, Service Laying or Craft)
  • NVQ Level 3 in Gas Emergency Service Operations.

If you progressed into management, you could also take NVQ Level 4 in Gas Network Engineering Management.

See the Energy & Utility Skills website for more details about qualifications and a list of training providers.

Many employers also offer structured graduate engineering and management training schemes, which usually last around two years.

Employers will often want you to be registered in an appropriate safety passport scheme, such as one of the gas industry schemes supported by the Energy & Utilities Skills Register (EUSR). See the EUSR website for more information.

Opportunities

You could work for one of the five regional gas distribution companies (such as National Grid), for a contractor that carries out work on behalf of the distribution companies, or for a construction company building new developments.

With experience, you could progress to team leader and possibly into management. You could also move into field or project engineering, possibly with some further study.

Jobs may be advertised in the local press, Jobcentre Plus, and employers' own websites. You may also find the following links useful for job vacancies and general reading (links open new window):

Energy Networks Association
Just Utilities.net
Utility Job Search

We do not accept responsibility for the content of external sites.

Annual Income


  • Apprentices usually earn around 11,000 a year.
  • When qualified, this can rise to between 18,000 and 25,000.
  • Experienced workers and team leaders can earn around 25,000 to 32,000 a year.

Overtime and shift allowances can greatly increase salaries.

Figures are intended as a guideline only.

 

Further information

If you would like to discuss your career options with a learning advisor at the Careers Advice Service advice line, call 0800 100 900 or use our online enquiry form.
 
 

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