As an oil or gas network engineer, you will install and maintain the pipelines that supply homes and businesses.
Common job roles in oil and gas engineering include process engineer, structural engineer and safety engineer.
So, what will I actually be doing?
Your job is likely to include:
- Digging holes by hand or using mechanical digging equipment
- Using maps and plans to trace where you need to dig
- Laying and repairing pipes and mains systems
- Connecting homes and businesses to the gas network
- Installing and maintaining gas pressure control equipment
- Responding to emergency gas leaks
- Filling in holes and repairing pavements and gardens
- Following safety procedures and meeting standards
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The nitty gritty
You'll generally work 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday, with overtime when necessary. You'll also be on standby for emergencies outside normal working hours, on a rota basis.
As you'll probably be driving a van around your local area, you should have a driving licence. You could work for a distribution company, a contractor that carries out work for them, or for a construction company building new developments.
With experience, you could progress to team leader and into management. You could also move into field or project engineering, maybe with some further study. Along with engineering opportunities, you may be able to move into related areas, such as technical sales, maintenance team management and contract management.
Money, money, money
Figures are intended as a guideline only.
- Apprentices usually earn £10,000 to £11,000 a year
- Salaries after the apprenticeship usually start at £16,000 to £18,000
- Experienced workers and team leaders can earn around £25,000 a year
- Overtime and shift allowances can greatly increase salaries
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The good points...
Being able to make a difference by fixing gas and oil issues that can businesses and people’s health.
...and the bad
Most of your time will be spent outdoors, working in all weathers, so remember to pack your raincoat. You'll be given protective clothing like safety boots and high-visibility vests and the work can be physically demanding.
Is there study involved?
You don't always need formal qualifications, although you will need a good standard of general education and GCSEs or similar qualifications will help - check entry requirements with individual employers. Often, you can get in through an apprenticeship scheme.
Most employers will ask for at least four GCSEs (A-C), including maths, English, and another relevant subject such as science, engineering or design and technology. To find out more about apprenticeships, visit www.apprenticeships.org.uk.
If you're not joining through an apprenticeship scheme, you'll find it useful to have previous experience or qualifications in engineering, building services engineering, plumbing or construction. You'll do a mixture of learning on the job from experienced staff, and formal courses at a training centre.
You may also work towards one or more of the following qualifications: NVQ levels 1, 2 and 3 in Gas Network Operations (Mains Laying, Service Laying or Craft) NVQ Level 3 in Gas Emergency Service Operations.
If you move into management, you could also take NVQ Level 4 in Gas Network Engineering Management. See the Energy & Utility Skills website for more details about qualifications and a list of training providers.Many employers also offer structured graduate engineering and management training schemes, which usually last around two years.
Often, you'll need to be registered with an appropriate safety passport scheme to work on site. These include:
- EUSR Utility Safety Health and Environment Awareness (Gas)
- Client/Contractor National Safety Group (CCNSG)
- Safety Passport Construction Safety Certification Scheme (CSCS)
OK, I'm interested... But is it really the job for me?
To be an effective network engineer you should have:
Good practical skills
- The ability to follow technical plans and diagrams
- Physical fitness
- The willingness to work in all weather conditions
- A polite and professional manner with the public
- A responsible and safety-conscious attitude to work
- The ability to work as part of a team