Highways Engineer

Introduction

As a Highways Engineer, you will work on the construction of new roads. You might also be responsible for maintaining the condition of existing roads and motorways.

Work Activities

As a Highways Engineer, you will work upon the construction of new roads. You might also be responsible for maintaining the condition of existing roads and motorways.

When a new road is being created, you will need to work closely with other professionals. These include:

  • Architects
  • Quantity Surveyors
  • Structural,Traffic and Civil Engineers
  • Local Planning and Highway Authorities
  • local residents

You will need to discuss in detail where the road will be built and how it effects the local area. If the road is going to be built next to a housing estate, for example, you will need to consider the noise and air pollution from the cars that will use the new road.

Once you receive the contract for the new road, you will need to begin supervising and planning the whole project. This could mean recruiting contractors, such as Road Surface Workers and Construction Operatives.

Creating a new road could cause a lot of disruption to traffic in the local area. As a Highways Engineer, you will need to supervise the roadworks around the site and divert traffic in another direction if necessary.

Some Highways Engineers are also involved in the design of large structures such as bridges and overpasses.

Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.

Personal Qualities and Skills

To become a Highways Engineer, you will need:

  • to have an interest in engineering
  • good communication skills
  • IT skills
  • design skills
  • to be able to manage lots of people
  • to be able to work in all weather conditions

Pay and Opportunities

Pay

The pay rates given below are approximate.

  • Starting: £30,500 - £34,000
  • With experience: £37,000 - £45,000
  • Senior Highways Engineers earn £48,000 - £53,00

Hours of work

Highways Engineers usually work around 37 hours a week, Monday to Friday. You might need to work weekends and evenings, especially when deadlines approach.

Where could I work?

Employers could be civil engineering or constructions firms.

Opportunities for Highways Engineers occur with employers in towns, cities and rural areas throughout the UK.

This career can involve working for an agency.

Where are vacancies advertised?

Vacancies are advertised on all the major job boards, on Find a Job, and at Jobcentre Plus.

Entry Routes and Training

Entry routes and training

To become a Highways Engineer, you will need an accredited Master of Engineering (MEng) degree or Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) honours degree in civil engineering, or a related subject, to become a Chartered Highways Engineer. These can be studied as sandwich courses, which include work experience.

You can do a foundation degree, HNC or HND in civil engineering before moving on to a full degree course. After getting a degree or foundation degree/HNC/HND, you must have a period of approved training, experience with an employer and pass a professional review to become fully qualified.

A great way to get into this career is through an internship. Take a look at our information article 'Internships', for more details.

An Advanced Level or Degree Apprenticeship is also a great place to start. Take a look at our information article 'Apprenticeships – How do I apply', for more details about applying for apprenticeship positions.

Training

If you would like some more training, the Institute of Highway Engineers offer membership and professional registration. They also offer a professional certificate in temporary traffic management. This course will allow you to learn:

  • the basics of highway engineering
  • the principles of temporary traffic management
  • working as part of a temporary work design team

Check the website for dates and availability.

Other courses could be available in your area.

Work Experience

Previous experience working as a Civil Engineer, Highways Maintenance Technician or Operative would be useful or this career.

Progression

With skills and experience, you could progress to Highways Control Manager or Commercial Manager.

Qualifications

To enter a relevant HNC, HND or foundation degree, you will usually need:

  • 1 A level where preferred subjects include maths and physics
  • 5 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above in your A level subjects

For entry to a degree course in a relevant subject, the usual requirement is:

  • 2/3 A levels
  • GCSEs at grade C/4 or above in your A level subjects
  • a further 2/3 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, including English, maths and physics

Other qualifications are often acceptable as alternatives to A levels, for example:

  • BTEC level 3 qualifications
  • the International Baccalaureate Diploma

However, entry requirements for different courses vary, so check university prospectuses for more details.

Some universities accept the Welsh Baccalaureate as equivalent to 1 A level.

Further Information

CITB-ConstructionSkills

Skills for the construction industry

Address: Bircham Newton, Kings Lynn, Norfolk PE31 6RH

Website: www.cskills.org

CITB NI

Northern Ireland Enquiries

Address: Nutts Corner Training Centre, 17 Dundrod Road, Crumlin, County Antrim BT29 4SR

Tel: 028 9082 5466

Email: info@citbcsni.org.uk

Website: www.citbcsni.org.uk

Construction Employers Federation (CEF)

Irish enquiries

Address: 143 Malone Road, Belfast BT9 6SU

Tel: 028 9087 7143

Email: mail@cefni.co.uk

Website: www.cefni.co.uk

Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS)

Address: Bircham Newton, Kings Lynn, Norfolk PE31 6RH

Tel: 0844 5768777

Website: www.cscs.uk.com

bConstructive

Publisher: CITB-ConstructionSkills

Tel: 0344 994 4010

Email: myapprenticeship@citb.co.uk

Website: www.bconstructive.co.uk

Construction Industry Training Board (CITB)

Address: Blue Court, Church Lane, Kings Langley, Hertfordshire WD4 8JP

Tel: 01923 260000

Email: ecitb@ecitb.org.uk

Website: careers.ecitb.org.uk

Careers Wales - Welsh Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 028 4844

Website: ams.careerswales.com/

Institute of Highway Engineers

Tel: 020 3551 5681

Email: info@theihe.org

Website: www.theihe.org

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