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Tunnelling Ventilation Engineer

Tunnelling ventilation engineers plan, design and enable ventilation systems in tunnelling projects. They work closely with designers to lead tunnel ventilation projects, ensuring that proposed designs are appropriate and safe.

Average salary*




Typical hours per week


How to become a tunnelling ventilation engineer

There are several routes to becoming a tunnelling ventilation engineer. You would usually be expected to hold a university degree, however you could also complete a college course or an apprenticeship. If you have relevant engineering experience you could also apply to an employer directly. 

You should explore these routes 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.


You could complete an undergraduate degree to become a tunnelling ventilation engineer, in a relevant subject such as:

  • Mechanical engineering
  • Aeronautical engineering
  • Building services engineering.

To study for an undergraduate degree you’ll usually require 2 - 3 A levels, or equivalent.

College/training provider

You could study for a higher national certificate (HNC) in mechanical engineering to help you become a tunnelling ventilation engineer.

You’ll need:


An apprenticeship with a construction company is a good way into the industry.

You could complete an apprenticeship in engineering or become an apprentice building services technician, and then specialise, to become a tunnelling ventilation engineer.

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.


If you have experience in a relevant field such as mechanical engineering, you could apply directly to a construction company to gain onsite experience as a tunnelling ventilation engineer. You might start out as an assistant to a more experienced tunnelling ventilation engineer and progress as your abilities improve.

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 tunnelling ventilation engineer. Potential employers will always be pleased to see work experience listed on your CV.


Additional skills which may benefit anyone considering a job as a tunnelling ventilation engineer include: 

  • Ability to work well under pressure
  • Knowledge of engineering, science and technology
  • Maths and design knowledge
  • Knowledge of building and construction
  • Flexible, adaptable and collaborative
  • Strong written and oral communication skills.

What does a tunnelling ventilation engineer do?

As a tunnelling ventilation engineer, you’ll be responsible for developing and maintaining the plans around the safe installation of ventilation systems. You could be working on a range of underground buildings and tunnels, including metro systems, railway stations, road tunnels, cable tunnels, and process and mining tunnels.

The role of a tunnelling ventilation engineer involves the following duties: 

  • Planning, designing and installing ventilation systems in tunnelling projects
  • Working on a range of systems to ensure tunnels are safe and fit for purpose
  • Planning and overseeing commissioning, operation, refurbishment and upgrade of tunnel infrastructure
  • Applying fluid mechanics, for fire and ventilation modelling
  • Applying thermodynamics
  • Implementing fire safety engineering
  • Carrying out risk analysis.

How much could you earn as a tunnelling ventilation engineer?

The expected salary for a tunnelling ventilation engineer varies as you become more experienced.

  • Newly trained tunnelling ventilation engineers can earn £25,000 - £30,000
  • Trained tunnelling ventilation engineers with some experience can earn £30,000 - £35,000
  • Senior tunnelling ventilation engineers can earn £35,000 - £45,000*
  • Self-employed tunnelling ventilation engineers 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 tunnelling ventilation engineer vacancies: 

As these are external websites, the number of vacancies related to your preferred role may vary. New opportunities will be posted as they come up.

Career path and progression

As a tunnelling ventilation engineer, you could progress to become a team leader or manager.

You could also transfer your skills to a relevant engineering role, such as a civil engineer.

Progression Opportunities

Explore the progression opportunities below

  • Current role Tunnelling Ventilation Engineer Help ensure tunnels are safe by planning & designing ventilation systems. Learn ...
    Read more
  • Current role Construction Team Leader Take the next step in your career as an Occupational Supervisor. Work with new m...
    Read more
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