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Lightning Conductor Engineers make sure that buildings and other structures are safe if they’re struck by lightning.


Average salaries are in the region of £22,000.00 to £28,000.00. Salaries will vary depending on location / employer

Career Profile

Lightning Conductor Engineers make sure that buildings and other structures don’t go up in smoke if they’re struck by lightning.

What they do

They install lightning protection that is carefully designed to direct the energy from lightning into the earth (earthing) and away from the building or structure. It’s important and highly skilled work that protects property and the lives of everyone inside.

A Lightning Conductor Engineer has an exciting and interesting job, usually working very high up. They use access ladders and scaffolding, mobile work platforms called cradles, traditional harnesses (bosun’s seats) and industrial ropes for abseiling. When the job is done the lightning conductor engineer dismantles all the equipment and returns it to the ground. 

Typical duties include:

  • Installing lightning conductors
  • Earthing military equipment (including aircraft)
  • Protecting historic buildings
  • Working with electricians to protect computers and other electronic equipment
  • Carrying out repairs, maintenance and renovation work on industrial chimneys, power station cooling towers, church spires, castles, high-rise buildings and bridges

Lightning Conductor Engineers usually work outdoors and in all weathers. The work can be physically challenging and often means working evenings and weekends.

Salary:

  • Newly trained Lightning Conductor Engineers can earn in the region of £14,000 - £17,000
  • Trained with experience Lightning Conductor Engineers can earn in the region of £18,000 - £28,000
  • Senior/Master Craft Lightning Conductor Engineers can earn in the region of £28,000 - £32,000
  • Self-employed Lightning Conductor Engineers set their own pay rates

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


 

Head to the Careers Explorer A-Z to get more information on construction roles available. 

You can also take our Personality Quiz to find out which construction career is right for you.

Case Study

Richard Galvin, a former Lightning Conductor Engineer with Orion Lightning Protection Limited.

What do you do?

I work for a specialist lightning protection company. We install systems to direct the energy from lightning away from tall buildings and into the earth so that no damage is caused. We sometimes complete electrical earthing work for power stations. All jobs are different so it’s hard to describe a typical day. One day I might be on a roof, another day I might be earthing. However, we always have equipment to set up and then take down at the end of the job and the safety checks must always be completed properly.

How did you get started?

I went to work straight from school. I didn’t go to college. I got a job as a landscape labourer. It was fine in the summer but when winter came, the work dried up and I was unemployed for a while. I actually think this helped me though. By the time I came to complete my college training for the job I’m in now, I was a bit more mature and didn’t mess around, which I might have done if I was a bit younger!

I was offered this job while I was out of work. My dad is an electrician and he carried out some work for the company I now work for. He mentioned I was looking for work. I got an interview and was offered the job. I started as a trainee and completed an apprenticeship with CITB. This took two years and involved training at the National Construction College in Norfolk on a four weeks on, four weeks off basis.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I like the travelling. I get to see all different places all over the country. Because we are a specialist company there aren’t many lightning conductor engineers so I travel all over the place. I also like the variety that my job gives me. No two days are ever the same! And you get some great views from the heights we work at!

What skills do you need?

You definitely need a good head for heights. On average, we work at between 150 and 200 feet above the ground, although we could work at any height. You need to be good with your hands and able to think on your feet. There are many times when the job isn’t as straightforward as you thought it might be. You have to be able to problem-solve quickly and find a workable solution so that you can still get the job done in a safe manner.

Career highlights?

Some of the buildings I’ve worked on are amazing and I’m proud to say that I’ve contributed to them. For example, I have worked on the Arundel cathedral in West Sussex. I’m also proud that I completed my apprenticeship and gained a formal qualification for what I do.

Big ambition?

I want to do this job but at a more senior level, perhaps as a manager. Hopefully I’ll get the opportunity to progress if the company I’m working for continues to grow. I’d like the responsibility of supervising other team members.

Any advice about joining the construction industry?

Do it! There is always work in construction. Even in the tough times there is building work that needs doing. And if you pick a more specialist role, like mine, the chances of staying in work are even better.

Qualifications & Training

You don’t need any specific qualifications for starting this career but employers often prefer you to have GCSE grades A* - C (or equivalent, such as a L2 B-Tech, the Welsh Baccalaureate) in subjects such as Maths, English, Science or Design and Technology.

A good head for maths helps with understanding how electricity works. It may also help if you have some experience of working in general construction as a labourer, scaffolder or tradesperson. You might also need a driving licence.

A good start to your career is applying for an apprenticeship so you can earn as you learn. That means an employer supports you while you train. You work towards an NVQ Level 2 in Lightning Conductor Engineering. This includes installing lightning conductors, taking site measurements, doing evaluations and installing earthing systems to buildings. You also learn about rope access, mobile towers, first aid, fire fighting, the safe use of ladders and manual handling.

In Scotland

There are no set entry requirements, but English, Maths and Science or technological subjects at Standard grade or National 4 or 5 are useful. You need some knowledge of maths, to study basic electrical theory.

You must pass an entrance test covering English, Maths and problem solving.

Training

You will be sponsored by an employer and do training which involves on the job experience and off the job study for two years.

Working towards relevant NVQ or SVQ (Scottish Vocational Qualifications) in Lightning Conductor Engineering at Levels 2 and 3; once you have completed an apprenticeship you can apply to upgrade your CSCS (Construction Skills Certification Scheme) trainee card to the Skilled Worker card.

You will also have to keep up to date with the latest changes in technology and health and safety legislation.

For more details on apprenticeships visit Skills Development Scotland or to find out more about the lightning conductor engineer visit "my world of work"

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: 

Indeed

The IET

 

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. 

 

Career trends and forecasts

55,480 total staff needed

The UK construction industry will need a total of 55,480 specialist building operative roles (which includes lightning conductor engineers) to meet demand between 2017 - 2021, according to the latest Construction Skills Network research (LMI). The majority of this demand will be in East of England and East Midlands.

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