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Civil engineering technicians put their science and technology know how to work on complicated construction posers – from how to widen a motorway to building the world's tallest structure.
Average salaries are in the region of £12,000.00 to £38,000.00. Salaries will vary depending on location / employer
Civil engineering technicians put their science and technology to work on complicated construction problems – from how to widen a motorway to building the world's tallest structure.
They are the technical brains behind many building sites, providing support to civil engineers in the design, construction and management of a variety of projects.
Civil engineering technicians use advanced science to solve many of the problems they encounter, finding clever ways to tackle challenges such as how to reduce pollution or protect structures from wild weather.
A technician may be involved in the construction of sports arenas, factories, schools and hospitals by providing essential support to the engineering team. They can also be involved in the design of integrated road and rail networks, oil pipelines, docks and harbours. Then there’s the technical input needed to install water supplies correctly, or making sure waste is disposed of without affecting public safety.
Salaries typically depend on location, employer and level of responsibility.
There are a number of different aspects to my role; I manage and maintain construction drawings and conduct setting out works to allow construction to take place. I also communicate with people on site such as the foreman to make sure work is done correctly and it is understood. I complete check sheets and quality management sheets to satisfy the client’s requirements.
I am also involved in the design and specification of a project and I have to keep a site diary and record of productivity, which is really helpful in liaising with the quantity surveyor.
It is really interesting working with these different people on site. With the quantity surveyor I can learn when things are in our scope of works. I have worked on a number of different projects and am learning a range of different skills.
At the moment I want to become more familiar with the contract experience and how to manage client expectations. This will help me gain the skills to manage a site. I’m interested in the construction management side of industry, managing a programme of projects.
How did you get started?
I completed my A-levels in Art, Physics, Maths and Geography and originally wanted to be an architect. I really enjoyed the physics and maths side but I was also really interested in buildings, so I decided to go down the engineering route instead.
I studied for a master’s in civil engineering at the University of Birmingham but the course was more focused on the consultancy side. The university route meant fewer stages for me to get accredited by the Institute of Civil Engineers (ICE), because my course was accredited by them. I would recommend to anyone going down this route to check their course is accredited. Once I finished university I applied to BAM Nuttall for an assistant engineer role.
What do you enjoy about your job?
I like to work outside and I really enjoy that almost every day is different. There are always different challenges and I get a lot of satisfaction from seeing a project progressing. There is a lot of opportunity for me to develop my skills and my manager and my mentor both support my progression. I’m working towards Incorporate Status with ICE and I have a lot of support in helping me achieve this.
What skills do you need?
You need to be able to get on with people at various levels, such as the team on site – including your foreman. You also need to have a good relationship with your client. If you build a relationship with your team, they buy into the philosophy. Of course you have to have technical knowledge of construction methods and engineering. Also the realisation that you might not know and you shouldn’t be afraid to ask, especially coming out of university without site experience. So the ability learn from others is important.
Proudest career moment?
Graduating from university. Also it makes me really proud to hand over projects, getting it all signed off and no-one coming back with any problems.
What’s your ambition?
I’d like to progress into the management side of construction with my company. They provide a lot of different career opportunities on a diverse range of projects, such as highways and other structures.
Advice about joining the construction industry?
It’s never Groundhog Day. If you want a job that isn’t always the same, offers a challenge and allows you to get to know people who give a lot of time and support, then it’s the right industry for you. There is also a lot of satisfaction gained from being part of something.
England & Wales
Many civil engineering technicians started their career as an apprentice. To apply for an apprenticeship you need four GCSEs (A*-C), including Maths, English and a science subject – or equivalent qualifications such as the Welsh Baccalaureate, or L2/3 BTEC.
Another way into the job is to start as a trainee technician straight after school. This can be after getting GCSEs (A*-C) in English, Maths and Science or after doing relevant A or AS levels. You could also start work after a full-time course at college, such as the BTEC National Certificate.
The apprenticeship programme for civil engineering technicians lasts up to three years. The theory you learn for your job is covered by day or block release at a college or training provider. The rest of the time you’re training on the job, through practical work experience.
This leads to at least an NVQ Level 3 in construction contracting operations, key skills at Level 2, and relevant technical certificates. Apprentices can also get certificates, for example, in first aid and health and safety. A Level 3 Diploma in Civil Engineering is also available.
You can study full time or part time for a qualification in civil engineering, such as a National Certificate (NC), Higher National Certificate (HNC), Higher National Diploma (HND), or an approved Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) at Level 3.
You can also train through a Modern Apprenticeship with an employer or training organisation. The apprenticeship includes a combination of on the job and off the job training. At technician level this would lead to an HNC.
Entry requirements for apprenticeships and college courses vary from 2 or more subjects at Standard grade or National 5 to 1-3 Highers. You may need particular subjects, such as English, Maths and a science or technological subject.
You need to have a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card or equivalent. You will need to pass a health and safety test and have a Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) certificate.
A full UK driving licence is useful.
Technicians can try for technician membership of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE). The qualification EngTech is gained by registering with the Engineering Council UK as an engineering technician.
There are excellent opportunities for career progression. Initial careers, straight out of training, would be to a junior or assistant civil engineer. Other options are to move into document control, quantity surveying or CAD technician roles, or to specialise in health and safety by pursuing relevant qualifications. Many civil engineering technicians progress to a higher course such as a foundation degree, higher national certificate or higher national diploma in construction or civil engineering and/or a degree in civil engineering or construction management. Some continue their studies to achieve Incorporated Engineer or Chartered Civil Engineer status. Some technicians choose to pursue a route along the supervisory level with progression into construction management roles. Others move into consultancy work.
Try our Matching Service for work experience opportunities in your local area, with new opportunities being added on a regular basis.
Here are some construction vacancy websites you may find useful:
The number of job vacancies related to your preferred job role may vary daily, as these are external websites. Check regularly to see new opportunities as they are posted
The UK construction industry will need an additional 16,240 other construction professionals and technical staff (which includes civil engineering technicians) to meet demand between 2017 - 2021, according to the latest Construction Skills Network research (LMI). The majority of this demand will be in Scotland.