Gas Network Engineer
Gas network engineers install, maintain and ensure the safety of the gas supply to homes, factories, shops, offices and many other types of building throughout the UK.
Also known as
- Gas Distribution Worker
- Pipe Layer, Gas
Gas network engineers are involved in three main areas: network maintenance, network development and emergency services. They have a wide range of duties within these main areas. They usually work as part of a team, with one of them qualified as a team leader.
In network maintenance, gas network engineers work on transmission and distribution plants. They help to monitor, service and repair all the equipment and structures used to transport gas, for example, pressure reduction equipment, gas conditioning units, storage vessels, pipes, instruments and meters.
Maintenance work includes making/breaking joints, lifting, cleaning/replacing parts, carrying out routine site inspections and checking for any faults in equipment.
In network development, gas network engineers lay, connect, disconnect and test pipes. They also repair pipes and joints, and install equipment to control the pressure of gas.
Gas network engineers respond to emergencies, such as gas escapes. They must respond very quickly, visiting customers' premises to diagnose faults and to make the area safe.
In all their activities, gas network engineers use mobile and mechanical equipment, including lifting equipment, pneumatic equipment and mini excavators. Their work is closely controlled by standards and legislation.
Gas network engineers may have some driving duties, especially if they are part of an emergency service. They have to be prepared to work outside in all types of weather. Protective clothing is usually worn.
Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.
Personal Qualities and Skills
As a gas network engineer, you need:
- To enjoy solving problems.
- Good technical and manual skills.
- The ability to work as part of a team.
- To not mind working outdoors in all kinds of weather.
- The ability to read technical instructions and follow diagrams.
- Good communication skills to work with managers, team leaders, site managers and members of the general public.
- Basic number skills to check meters and instruments.
- The ability to pay close attention to detail.
- To be able to follow safety procedures, and have a responsible attitude.
- A reasonable level of fitness, as there could be some bending and lifting required.
In some jobs, a full, clean driving licence may be essential.
Pay and Opportunities
The pay rates given below are approximate.
Gas network engineers earn in the range of £15,000 - £19,500 a year, rising to £24,500 - £30,000 a year, with experience. Senior positions can earn up to £35,000 a year.
Hours of work
Gas network engineers usually work a 39-hour week, Monday to Friday. Irregular hours are not unusual and late finishes, weekend work and 'on-call' availability may all be required.
What's happening in this work area?
The three companies responsible for distributing gas around England and Wales (National Grid, Wales West Utilities and Northern Gas Networks) are currently part-way through a 30-year programme to replace old gas mains that are within 30 metres of a property. This large project helps to secure good employment prospects within the industry.
Where could I work?
Employers are firms involved in gas transportation, service and distribution.
The distribution network owners are National Grid, Northern Gas Networks, Scotia Gas Networks, Wales and West Utilities, and Southern Gas Networks. Many of these companies use contractors such as Scottish and Southern Energy, Amec and Morgan Est.
Opportunities for gas network engineers occur with employers in towns and cities throughout the UK.
Where are vacancies advertised?
Vacancies are advertised in local/national newspapers, trade industry publications, at Jobcentre Plus and on the Universal Jobmatch website.
Vacancies can also be found through specialist engineering recruitment agencies, internet job boards and the websites of professional engineering bodies and gas/energy organisations.
Entry Routes and Training
The best way to start a career in the gas networks industry is to apply to an employer in the industry and gain employment with them.
An Intermediate or Advanced Level Apprenticeship is also be a great place to start.
The Energy Networks Association (ENA) provides details of gas distribution companies, which you can then contact to see if they provide apprenticeship schemes.
An apprenticeship in the gas industry involves on-the-job work experience and placement, structured gas-related training and off-the-job college qualifications such as Technical Certificates and NVQs.
Health and safety is an important part of this job and the training process. Before working on a gas site, gas network engineers must hold a valid Utility SHEA (Gas) Passport (which is usually delivered as a one-day course).
Gas network engineers can progress to team leader/supervisor positions after further training and experience.
To get onto an Intermediate or Advanced Level Apprenticeship, you’ll usually need five GCSEs at grade C or above, possibly including English and Maths.
It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.
Applicants with relevant skills gained, for example, in engineering construction work, have an advantage.
Employers are likely to look for a good level of knowledge and understanding, and some insist on evidence provided by related work-based qualifications.
People within the industry or related employment areas can work towards a number of qualifications related to gas distribution operations.
- 4% of people in occupations such as gas network engineer work part-time.
- 16% have flexible hours.
Contact your distribution network owner or the recruitment department of a utilities contractor.
Apprenticeships: Get In. Go Far
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