Highway Maintenance Apprenticeships: Your Road to Success

Written by Calvin Bowers

When considering which apprenticeship offers the best road to success, highway maintenance apprenticeships should be near the top of your list. No matter what the future holds, there is always likely to be a place for people who are able to repair the vital road infrastructure of the country. The knowledge and experience that is needed to successfully repair the highways and smooth the journeys of millions of British commuters and domestic travellers are of vital importance to the future success of the country. 

A career in highway maintenance will equip you with the skills needed to keep the country’s traffic flowing. With vital HGV lorries worth of supplies being brought to and from shipping ports every day, it is incredibly important for issues such as the food security of the UK that they can reach the correct destinations on time.

Highway Maintenance Apprenticeships – The Options

When investigating which of the Highway Maintenance Apprenticeships would be most suitable for you, it is important to figure out where you stand in terms of your academic qualifications and decide which course would be easiest for you to begin with. 

There are different roles available, depending on whether you would prefer to be working on the electrical side of things, such as repairing roadside lighting and signs, or whether you would prefer to be taking care of the maintenance of the actual road surfaces that people will be driving on.

Each of the three options below will stand you in good stead for a career in highway maintenance on successful completion and around two-thirds of apprentices are kept on by the company they apprenticed with after their apprenticeship has been completed. 

Highway Electrical Maintenance and Installation Operative

Working as a highway electrical maintenance and installation operative is an excellent chance to learn more about how electrical maintenance works in terms of roadside structures such as illuminated road signs and lighting podiums. This work may also include the maintenance of CCTV equipment and sensors for traffic lights. 

In the course of the apprenticeship, you will learn how to install and maintain traffic light poles and you will also be asked to attend emergency situations where temporary traffic lights etc need to be quickly erected to control the flow of traffic. You will learn how to interpret technical specifications from drawings and will be expected to develop interpersonal skills and work closely with your team. 

This is a Level 2 or “intermediate” apprenticeship so it will be easy for even young school leavers without many qualifications to make a start to their adult careers in this way. This apprenticeship should take around 24 months in total to complete. People who successfully complete the apprenticeship can often go on to the Level 3 advanced apprenticeship in Highways Electrician or Services Operative as there is some overlap in terms of skills.   

Highways Electrician or Service Operative

This apprenticeship requires a bright spark who can take in a lot of information about how the various electrical systems for highways etc work. The highways electrical or service operative is expected to be able to interface with a wide range of different systems that are in use including CCTV, traffic lights and general street lighting columns in order to help to ensure public safety.

You will learn how to diagnose problems and resolve them and will be equipped with up-to-date knowledge on all relevant electrical matters including health and safety and environmental regulations. You will leave the apprenticeship equipped with technical skills in electrical equipment maintenance and installation and will be used to keeping accurate records of electrical testing for all of the equipment that you interact with.     

A Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship, this one should take around 24 months to complete. The Advanced apprenticeships are more academically challenging than the Intermediate ones and have suitably higher entry requirements. It is not uncommon for people to progress from the Level 2 Highway Electrical Maintenance and Installation Operative apprenticeship to this one. 

Highways Maintenance Skilled Operative

Repairing road damage in urban and rural areas is the order of the day with this apprenticeship. As a highways maintenance skilled operative, you will be expected to perform a number of duties, including repairing surface damage on all rural and urban roads with the exception of motorways. Some examples of tasks include filling potholes, managing pavements and installing lowered or “dropped” kerbs for accessibility purposes. 

During the apprenticeship, you will learn about public safety, how to interpret technical drawings, and also learn to use all of the tools necessary to complete the kind of work that you will be undertaking. The equipment typically includes hand and drum rollers for compacting and smoothing road surfaces.

This is a Level 2 or “Intermediate” apprenticeship which means it has the lowest academic entrance requirements, with young school leavers largely being the target audience that they are looking to attract to the role. The apprenticeship is for 18 months and falls broadly under the heading of construction

What Kind of Companies Will I Work With?

There are many companies involved in the highway maintenance space. Some of these are small sub-contractors and others are larger more corporate outfits. Local authorities also have a stake in highway maintenance so you may end up working with one of them in the public sector. It is a diverse area with a lot of competition and there is a skills gap in the UK at present so there has never been a better time to look at an apprenticeship. 

Finding Highway Maintenance Apprenticeships

Once you have read through the reasons to start an apprenticeship, your way ahead may seem clear. If this is the case, consider trying our dedicated apprenticeship jobs search to find a relevant apprenticeship based in your area. 

Our document library is a useful resource and you can find some useful information such as advice for writing a CV and advice for writing a covering letter. Both of these will ease the next steps on your career journey for you.

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Last Updated: Tuesday April 30 2024
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