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Highways engineers keep the thousands of miles of roads across Britain in good shape – and help build new ones where they’re needed.


Average salaries are in the region of £19,000.00 to £28,000.00. Salaries will vary depending on location / employer

Career Profile

Highways engineers keep the thousands of miles of roads across Britain in good shape – and help build new ones where they’re needed.

What they do

From busy motorways to suburban roads and country lanes, every highway needs constant maintenance to remain safe for traffic. Highways engineers are out in all weathers keeping the roads in good repair. They work with other professionals to help build and maintain roads as well as finding new solutions to transport problems. 

Typical tasks include:

  • Designing local road schemes
  • Maintaining the road network
  • Planning and supervising projects
  • Preparing contract documents
  • Managing construction teams
  • Designing and maintaining structures such as bridges
  • Supervising roadworks
  • Keeping roads clear and open in winter
  • Dealing with stakeholders including clients, transport specialists and members of the public

Hours & Salary:

  • Highways engineers are in demand and usually earn around £22,000 to £28,000 a year.

Salaries depend on location, employer and level of responsibility.


 

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Case Study

I work in a department that provides highway design and project management for a variety of clients within the council. These include various departments such as the four highways divisions, the accident investigation partnership and external developers.

We can be working on a number of different schemes at any one time and my day to day job includes project design, management and site supervision. It also involves procurement of works, contract administration and co-ordination of all the utility divisions, which includes gas, electricity, lighting and so on.

I also work on health and safety and traffic management and use specialist IT systems such as Mx road design and Autocad. Then there’s the co-ordination of other work areas such as street lighting and traffic signals.

How did you get started?

It was my interest in technical drawing that first attracted me to civil engineering. I started my career with Anglian Water in the engineering drawing office on a Youth Training Scheme. I was 16 and had just left school with nine GCSEs grade C and above. I went to college on day release for four years and obtained my BTEC ONC and HNC in civil engineering.

I worked with Anglian Water for 10 years then had a break to have children. I started my career again with my current employer but this time in highway design. I’ve been here for more than 11 years. I found that the civil engineering project management stages were similar and it was highway design and the workings of a local government that I needed to learn. I’ve become a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineering as an incorporated engineer, with the support of my employer.

What do you enjoy about your job?

The variety and flexibility, no two jobs are ever the same and there are new challenges every day. I particularly enjoy producing drawings and the site supervision part of the job. Working with the contractor and seeing your design being built is very rewarding. I’m able to work part-time flexible hours, which is ideal while I have school age children.

What skills do you need?

You need to be organised, thorough and creative, be able to cope with and enjoy variety. You also need good communication skills and be able to solve problems.

Proudest career moment?

Achieving my professional qualification in civil engineering. The design, supervision and project delivery of three junction improvements in Lincoln carried out on behalf of a superstore. This project was completed in November 2010 and construction took two and a half months on site.

What’s your ambition?

To become a senior engineer.

Any advice about joining the construction industry?

It’s an industry where there are jobs available now and for the foreseeable future. You need an interest in some form of engineering and a desire to see things built or developed. Engineering can be very challenging so don’t expect any two days to be the same.

Qualifications & Training

You should ideally have GCSEs, standard grades, National 4 or 5s, or equivalent such as the Welsh Baccalaureate as well as A-levels/ Highers in English and Maths. 

If you want to find out more about this career, work experience with a professional highway engineering practice will give you an idea of what the job is all about.

Studying for a university degree in civil engineering would lead to chartered engineer status. 

Alternatively, you can train on the job while working as a highways maintenance technician.  Day release training leads to a National Certificate (NC), Higher National Certificate (HNC) or Higher National Diploma (HND).  

In Scotland visit www.myworldofwork.co.uk (and look for Civil Engineer)

Want to find out more?

Try our Matching Service for work experience opportunities in your local area, with new opportunities being added on a regular basis. 

Looking for a vacancy? 

Here are some construction vacancy websites you may find useful: 

Total Jobs

Indeed

The number of jobs 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.

Career trends and forecasts

3980 additional staff needed

The UK construction industry will need an additional 3980 civil engineers (including highways engineers) to meet demand every year between 2017- 2012, according to the latest Construction Skills Network research (LMI). 

Progression Opportunities

Explore the progression opportunities below

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