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A highways maintenance technician works in a team to carry out highway maintenance programmes.

Average salaries are in the region of £15,000.00 to £25,000.00. Salaries will vary depending on location / employer

Career Profile

A highways maintenance technician works in a team to carry out highway maintenance programmes.

What they do

They solve practical engineering problems and identify potential improvements. They also help with the planning of maintenance and repair work, structural design and traffic safety along with network management.

A highways maintenance technician works both indoors and outdoors.

Typical tasks include:

  • Inspecting roads and identifying structural defects and safety issues
  • Designing highway maintenance schemes such as road and footway resurfacing and drainage
  • Making structural maintenance, design and analysis calculations
  • Looking at impact on the environment
  • Producing design drawings and specifications using CAD technology
  • Preparing tender packages, cost estimates, risk assessments, plans and reports
  • Liaising with local authorities, utilities companies and the general public

Hours & Salary:

  • Newly trained highways maintenance operatives can earn in the region of £15,000 - £22,000
  • Trained with experience highways maintenance operatives can earn in the region of £22,000 - £25,000
  • Senior highways maintenance operatives can earn in the region of £26,000 - £32,000

Salaries typically range depending on location and overtime. Self-employed  highways maintenance operative’s set their own pay rates.


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Case Study

I always wanted to do labouring in construction. When I was younger, Jobcentre Plus put me in touch with the Prince’s Trust and I got my Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card though them.

They also gave me the opportunity to attend an open day for apprenticeships in highways maintenance at VolkerHighways. The open day involved some activities and an informal interview. I was one of eight people chosen out of a group of about twenty to start an apprenticeship. I then started my NVQ Level 2 in Highways Maintenance at CITB National Construction College.

What do you like about your role?

I really enjoy working outdoors and doing something new every day. You never know what each day will bring. One day I could be laying paving, the next day I could be concreting. I get a lot of satisfaction seeing a project through from start to finish.

I’m working in my local area at the moment and when I’m going past a highways project I worked on I can say ‘I worked on that project!’

What’s your working day like?

I get into work early and work with an experienced highways engineer to set out levels. This is where you read the drawings for the project and put in markers so construction workers know exactly where new paving, drainage or curbs need to be laid. We also do this for street furniture such as installing new benches.

Another part of my job is surveying. This involves checking levels to make sure they are accurate and that everything is planned properly and fits together. For example, we may need to ensure paving is laid properly so that when it rains the water will fall towards the drainage systems to avoid any flooding.

What skills do you need in your job?

You need to be really alert and aware of your surroundings as there is often a lot of moving machinery around. Good communication and listening skills also really help. If your supervisor asks you to set up some barriers around your work area so the public cannot enter, you need to carry out the task exactly as instructed to ensure the safety of the public and other employees.   

Often on a highways project members of the public will ask you questions. You need to be able to answer them in a helpful manner, or where to refer them to if you don’t know.

Another good skill is being able to spot a problem before it occurs. For example when you are laying paving, if you can see it’s being laid flat and it needs to be laid on a slant, the earlier you can spot this the better as you can then avoid having to pull it up and relay it, saving time and money.

What are you most proud of about your career?

I’m developing in my role and building up respect from my colleagues and managers. The more you show you’re willing and that you want to progress, the more opportunities come forward.

On the project I’m currently working on, I’ve been given a few extra responsibilities such as doing safety briefings with staff and filling out delivery notes which is great for building on my experience.

Where do you want your career to take you?

There are lots of roles I could progress into, such as a highways engineer, supervisor or contracts manager. I could even go onto study a higher education course.  I’m not exactly sure what will happen in the future, but I do know I want to move up the career ladder.

Every project I work on I try and get on well with the contracts manager and ask them lots of questions to gain more knowledge and experience. I think this will help me progress my career.

A bit of advice for anyone thinking about a career in construction?

It’s hard work, there are a lot of early starts and some working in bad weather, but you learn something new every day and it’s important to make sure each day counts. You’ve got to think that every day is the chance to gain more knowledge and experience to help you further your career.

Qualifications & Training

You need to have GCSE (grade A* to C)/Standard grades or National 4/5s in Maths, English and Technology and in Wales, the Welsh Baccalaureate.

Many people go through a trainee technician scheme with day release training, leading to a National and Higher National Certificate/Diploma in Civil Engineering/Building Services. You may also be able to take a foundation degree qualification or study part-time for a degree in construction, engineering or quantity surveying. For some training schemes you will need prior work experience. 

You could also work towards the Transport Planning Professional (TPP) qualification. It provides professional recognition for transport planners and is awarded by the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT) and the Transport Planning Society (TPS). You need to demonstrate an appreciation of a broad range of transport planning procedures and techniques, and a competence to work in some of these.

For further information in Scotland visit (look for Civil engineering technician)

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Career trends and forecasts

1090 additional staff needed

The UK construction industry will need an additional 1090 civil engineering operatives and related occupations (which includes ) to meet demand every year between 2017 - 2021, according to the latest Construction Skills Network research (LMI). The majority of this demand will be in North West England and Scotland.

Progression Opportunities

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