A civil engineering technician provides technical support to civil engineers on a wide range of construction projects. They work on the construction of bridges, roads, railways, airports, dams, docks, tunnels, sewers and waterworks, hospitals, offices, factories, sports stadia, power stations and offshore structures.
You could be:
helping to carry out initial surveys of the site
sending rock and soil samples for lab analysis
assisting with the design of the project, using computer-aided design (CAD)
helping to work out what equipment and labour is required, as well as costs
working out timescales for completion of the project, or parts of the project
negotiating with suppliers and liaising with clients
monitoring the ongoing costs of the project
making sure that plans and work completed meets codes of practice and industry standards.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
where you work
the size of the company or organisation you work for
the demand for the job.
Starting salaries for civil engineering technicians range from £20,000 to £25,000 a year. With experience this rises to around £30,000 and more senior technicians may earn £40,000 a year or more.
You will work in an office and outdoors on site, which can be in all weathers.
You have to wear protective clothing: hard hat, safety boots and overalls when visiting sites.
You will travel to different sites.
You may have to work overtime, including evenings and weekends when working to a deadline.
You can study full time or part time for a qualification, such as an NC (SCQF Levels 4-6), HNC (SCQF Level 7) or HND (SCQF Level 8) in Civil Engineering, or an approved SVQ such as Construction Site Supervision (Construction): Building and Civil Engineering at (SCQF Level 7).
You can also train through a Modern Apprenticeship in Construction Technical (Building and Civil Engineering) at (SCQF Level 6) with an employer or training organisation. The apprenticeship includes a combination of on the job and off the job training.
You could study the Foundation Apprenticeship in Construction (SCQF Level 4 or 5) in S3-S6, which can help to get into a relevant Modern Apprenticeship.
Studying for a Foundation Apprenticeship at SCQF L:evel 6 while in S5 or S6 year at school could give you entry to an HNC or HND in Civil Engineering. It may also give entry to second year of the Modern Apprenticeship in Construction: Civil Engineering. For entry you would require 3 subjects at National 5 including English and Maths. You would be expected to have Higher Maths by the end of sixth year.
Entry requirements for apprenticeships and college courses vary from 2 or more subjects at National 5 to 1-3 Highers. You may need particular subjects, such as English, Maths and a science or technological subject.
You need to have a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card or equivalent to work on sites.
You need good knowledge of, and sometimes a qualification in, health and safety.
A full UK driving licence is useful.
Jobs can be with industrial companies, contractors, water boards, local government or in a research organisation.
What Does it Take?
You should have:
good verbal and written communication skills
good problem solving skills
scientific and technical aptitude
strong negotiating skills
good computer skills especially for CAD work.
You need to be:
able to plan your own work and organise the work of others
aware of health and safety regulations
able to meet deadlines
able to work alone and also as part of a team.
If you enter through a Modern Apprenticeship, you would train on the job while in employment, and attend college on a day or block release basis.
Once you have finished the academic qualifications, you should aim towards registering as an Engineering Technician (EngTech) with the Engineering Council.
If you do not have the necessary formal qualifications, you may be eligible for membership if you have practical experience. Contact the ICE for details.
As an experienced civil engineering technician you can progress to supervisory posts, and into management.
You might specialise in design or estimating.
Alternatively you could move into a similar field such as after-sales service or marketing engineering equipment.
There are also opportunities abroad.
As a technician at the level of EngTech you can also progress to become a civil engineer at the levels of Incorporated Engineer (IEng) or Chartered Engineer (CEng).
As a member of ICE you are required to undertake a programme of continuing professional development (CPD) each year.
Amey, the major UK infrastructure support service provider, maintains key public buildings and spaces such as airports, schools, parks and offices. They employ around 19,000 people across four continents. Each year they recruit a number of civil engineering technicians into a Higher Apprenticeship programme, which takes four years to complete. For more information see Apprentices at Amey.
The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) is the Sector Skills Council which covers a wide range of sectors in the development and maintenance of the built environment. Its careers website (bconstructive.co.uk) provides a wide range of information on jobs in the construction industry .