Gas service engineers maintain and repair gas appliances, such as fires, cookers and central heating systems, and the related pipes, meters and power supplies in homes and businesses.
You could be:
connecting new gas appliances to water and power supplies, attaching and concealing pipes and fitments and testing the systems
visiting homes and businesses to carry out regular maintenance checks on appliances
inspecting faulty appliances and their water and power supplies to identify the cause of the faults
using computerised fault-finding equipment
repairing and replacing damaged parts of appliances
attending emergency call outs and making appliances or systems safe
using a range of tools and equipment, and a variety of different materials such as copper, steel and plastic
using a laptop to estimate costs, issue invoices and collect payment, order spare parts and record work done
giving general advice on the safe and effective use of gas and gas appliances.
Depending on the company you work for, you may also carry out some of the duties of a Heating Engineer.
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.
A Modern Apprentice may start on the National Minimum Wage (NMW). At present the apprentice rate, for those aged under 19 or aged 19 or over and in the first year of their apprenticeship, is £4.81 an hour (1 April 2022). Some employers may pay their apprentices more.
The salaries for qualified gas service engineers are normally in the range of £20,000 to £40,000 a year. You can earn extra through bonuses for overtime, shift work and for selling products and services to customers. A uniform and van may be provided.
Gas service engineers work mainly in private homes or on business premises.
You would visit your base to collect appliances or parts and then travel to the customer’s premises.
Hours of work vary. You might have to start early in the morning, work evenings and weekends, and be on call for emergencies.
You might have to work in confined spaces and do a lot of lifting, bending and kneeling. You may be exposed to dust and fumes.
You may occasionally have to work outside and sometimes at heights.
You start through an apprenticeship with Scottish Gas (part of British Gas) or through a Modern Apprenticeship with another company.
For entry to either of these you normally need 4 subjects at National 5, preferably including English, Maths and a science or technological subject.
Scottish Gas recruit service and repair engineer apprentices through the Centrica Careers website (see British Gas address below). They recruit on an ongoing basis. Entry is very competitive, and if you are still at school or college you should apply well before you are due to leave.
You could get an apprenticeship with another company.
If you work with another company it is important that the company is registered with the Gas Safe Register. You can get more information on the Gas Safe Register website.
You should be physically fit as the job involves heavy lifting.
You normally need a full UK driving licence.
Because you will be working in individual homes, you may need to apply to Disclosure Scotland for entry onto the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme, to show that you are suitable for this type of work.
Many gas service engineers work for large companies such as Scottish Gas (British Gas). Others are employed by private gas fitting firms or by the manufacturers of gas appliances. Employment prospects are good.
What Does it Take?
You need to have:
good practical skills
numerical and IT skills
an accurate, methodical approach and an eye for detail
a pleasant manner when dealing with clients and customers
a neat and tidy approach to your work
an awareness of health and safety issues
a reasonable level of fitness.
You need to be able to:
follow technical plans and diagrams
listen and ask questions to get the right information
work alone, reliably and quickly
work to a schedule
make decisions and take responsibility.
Modern Apprenticeship training involves paid work combined with attendance at college or a training academy.
You would work towards City and Guilds Level 3 (SCQF Level 6) Diploma in Domestic Gas Engineering.
Alternatively you could do a Modern Apprenticeship in Plumbing and Heating at SCQF Level 7.
After completing an apprenticeship, all employees working with gas systems or appliances must pass the assessments of the Nationally Accredited Certification Scheme for Individual Gas Fitting Operatives (ACS). This is a legal requirement.
Once qualified, you must join the Gas Safe Register as an individual, even if the company you work for is registered. This is a legal requirement for anyone working on gas appliances and installations.
If working on new build properties on a building site, you may need the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card.
You must keep up to date with new developments throughout your working life.
With experience, you may move on to a supervisory job, particularly if you work for one of the larger organisations.
Energy and Utility Skills is the Sector Skills Council for the electricity, gas, waste management and water sectors. Their website Talent Source Network provides information on careers in the energy and utilities sector.