A steeplejack builds and repairs the inside or outside of tall structures such as church spires, industrial chimneys, power station cooling towers, high rise buildings, monuments, castles or bridges. Some specialise in fitting lightning protection systems (see job profile Lightning Conductor Engineer).
You could be:
using tools to work with stone, brick, glass or metal at great heights
carefully planning the job to be done
erecting access ladders, scaffolding, work platforms and bosun’s seats (harnesses) to create a safe working environment
using this equipment to climb up the structure while carrying tools
erecting, painting, inspecting, repairing or dismantling tall structures
repairing damaged brickwork or stonework, welding metal, replacing glass
fitting aircraft warning lights to tall structures or installing basic lightning conductors on roofs
dismantling access equipment when the job is complete
reporting on problems and liaising with architects and engineers.
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.
Wages are set annually by the National Joint Council for the Steeplejack and Lightning Protection Agency. As of July 2022 the hourly rates for apprentices are:
Age 16 - Year 1: £5.71 / Year 2: N/A
Age 17 - Year 1: £6.85 / Year 2: £9.13
Age 18 - Year 1: £9.13 / Year 2: £9.70
Age 19 - Year 1: £9.70 / Year 2: £10.27
Age 20 - Year 1: £10.27 / Year 2: £10.84
Age 21 and over - Year 1: £10.84 / after 6 months: £11.41.
The full rate for a qualified engineer with SVQ at SCQF Level 5 is £13.41, and with SCQF Level 6, £15.78 an hour. Master Steeplejacks can expect to earn up to £35,000 a year.
You work mostly outdoors, in all weathers.
You climb and balance while carrying ladders and equipment at great heights.
Rain and wind can make your job difficult as well as dangerous.
When indoors, for example inside an industrial chimney, conditions may be cramped and dusty.
There can be a lot of bending, lifting and stretching.
You wear a hard hat, safety harness and other protective gear.
The working day begins early and depends on hours of daylight.
You will have to travel to different sites and perhaps spend time living away from home.
Work can be seasonal, with shorter hours and sometimes lay-offs in winter.