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Highways maintenance technician

Also known as -

Road construction operative, highways maintenance operative

Highways maintenance technicians oversee the maintenance and repair of highways and roads. They regularly monitor for damage, deal with public enquiries, liaise with local authorities and utility companies, and make repairs to pavements, street furniture, road markings and more.

Average salary*




How to become a highways maintenance technician

While there are no formal qualifications needed to become a highways maintenance technician, there are several routes you could take to help you pursue this career. You could complete a college course, an apprenticeship or apply directly to an employer for work.

You should explore these routes to becoming a highways maintenance technician, to find out which is the right one for you. Although some of these options have certain qualification requirements, many employers are more interested in people who are enthusiastic, willing to learn and can follow instructions. 

You may need a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card to work on a construction site.

College/training provider

Although there are no set entry requirements, anyone considering a career as a highways maintenance technician would benefit from achieving GCSE qualifications (or equivalent) in maths and English.

You could study for a Level 1 Certificate in Construction Skills or a Level 2 Diploma in Construction and Civil Engineering Operations to improve your abilities and job prospects.

Find out what the entry requirements are where you live.


You could apply for a road surfacing operative intermediate apprenticeship, or highways maintenance intermediate apprenticeship.

Apprenticeships are open to anyone over the age of 16. As an apprentice, you’ll be fully employed by your company and expected to work a minimum of 30 hours a week. Your time will be split between on-the-job experience and a college or training provider.

Find out what the entry requirements are where you live.


You could apply directly to an employer to become a highways maintenance operative or technician, especially if you have some previous on-site or groundworks experience. This would give you the opportunity to develop your skills by learning from more experienced members of the team, and your employer may provide training to help you progress in your career.

Work experience

Work experience is essential to gaining employment within the construction industry. You could gain this at school, or by working weekends and holidays with a company or relative who works as a highways maintenance technician. Potential employers will always be pleased to see work experience listed on your CV.


Desirable skills for a highways maintenance technician include: 

  • Good level of physical fitness
  • Good spatial awareness
  • Ability to work well as part of a team
  • Able to use and maintain machines and tools
  • Excellent communication and listening skills
  • Awareness of health and safety.


To become a highways maintenance technician, you could complete a:

  • Level 2 NVQ in Construction and Civil Engineering Operations
  • Level 2 Highways Maintenance Skilled Operative Apprenticeship
  • Level 3 Highways Electrician or Service Operative Apprenticeship

To become a highways maintenance technician, you could complete a:

  • Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) in Construction Civil Engineering (Roadbuilding and Maintenance) at SCQF Level 5
  • Level 2 construction related qualification and then progress
  • Modern Apprenticeship in Construction Technical at SCQF Level 6

To become a highways maintenance technician, you could complete a:

  • Level 2 NVQ – Road Building and Maintenance (Construction) and Road Building and Maintenance (Construction): Excavation and Reinstatement
  • Level 2 Apprenticeship in Highways Maintenance

What does a highways maintenance technician do?

Highways maintenance technicians are responsible for the local roads and streets in a given area. They ensure that requests for repairs are actioned and that all highways and footways are well maintained.

The duties of a highways maintenance technician often include: 

  • Designing highways maintenance schemes, to cover resurfacing, drainage repairs and improvements to roads and footpaths
  • Inspecting roads to identify structural defects and safety issues 
  • Calculating costs of maintenance
  • Analysing the impact maintenance work will have on the environment 
  • Investigating and actioning maintenance requests submitted by members of the public
  • Overseeing practical maintenance of roads and streets
  • Directing traffic during repair operations
  • Operating, maintaining and transporting construction equipment and supplies
  • Maintaining road networks in winter
  • Painting traffic control lines
  • Performing roadside landscaping including clearing weeds and trimming trees
  • Sweeping debris from surfaces and structures
  • Spreading sand, asphalt, gravel and clay to build and maintain surfaces
  • Cleaning and repairing drainage systems, bridges, tunnels and other structures
  • Installing and repairing guardrails, road lighting and other features
  • Designing maintenance schemes to ensure work is carried out effectively and regularly
  • Producing technical drawings and specifications using CAD (computer-aided design) technology
  • Writing risk assessments ahead of maintenance projects.

How much could you earn as a highways maintenance technician?

The expected salary for a construction team leader varies as you become more experienced.

  • Newly trained highways maintenance technicians can earn £17,000 - £25,000
  • Trained highways maintenance technicians with some experience can earn £25,000 - £30,000
  • Senior highways maintenance technicians can earn £30,000 - £35,000* 
  • Self-employed highways maintenance technicians set their own pay rates. 

Hours and salary depend on location, employer and any overtime you may do.

* Salaries have been collected from multiple industry sources


Check out the latest highways maintenance technician vacancies: 

As these are external websites, the number of job vacancies related to your preferred job role may vary. 

Career path and progression

As a highways maintenance technician, you could complete training to become a mastic asphalter. 

With experience, you could move into more senior roles, such as a site supervisor, team leader or highways control manager.

Alternatively, you could set yourself up as a self-employed contractor.

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