Gas heating engineers install and upgrade central heating and hot water systems in homes and small business premises.
You could be:
- installing systems in new houses or commercial premises or upgrading older systems in occupied buildings
- working from plans and technical diagrams
- connecting and hiding pipes and fitments and testing the systems
- visiting customers at home to do regular checks and advising them on choosing the right boiler and radiators
- advising customers on the safe use of appliances and on ways to keep down their heating bills
- inspecting faulty systems or appliances to find out the cause of the faults and repairing them on the spot, or taking them back to the workshop
- attending emergency call-outs
- using a variety of different materials such as copper, steel and plastic
- making estimates of costs, issuing invoices and collecting payment.
Depending on the company you work for, you may also carry out the duties of a Gas Service 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 £3.90 an hour (1 April 2019). Some employers may pay their apprentices more.
Salaries for experienced gas heating engineers can be between £23,000 and £38,000 a year before overtime. Some companies also provide a car or a van and benefits such as a pension.
- You work mainly in private homes or business premises but occasionally on building sites.
- You pick up appliances and parts at your base then travel to the customer’s premises.
- You usually work regular hours but there might be some evening and weekend work.
- You do a lot of lifting, bending and kneeling.
- You may be exposed to dust and fumes.
- You may need to crawl under floorboards in confined spaces.
- You will usually wear overalls or a uniform.
Workforce Employment Status
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- You can start through an apprenticeship with Scottish Gas (part of British Gas) or through a Modern Apprenticeship with another company.
- Entry requirements are usually 4 subjects at National 5 including English, Maths and preferably a science or technological subject.
- Scottish Gas advertise home installation engineer apprenticeships through their British Gas Jobs website (see 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.
Workforce Education Levels (UK)
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Job Outlook Scotland
Percentage of workforce registered as unemployed (Scotland)
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Job Outlook Scotland and UK
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What Does it Take?
You need to have:
- practical and technical skills
- an awareness of safety issues
- good problem solving skills
- a strong sense of responsibility
- a pleasant manner and good customer service skills
- maths skills to make calculations
- a careful, accurate and methodical approach
- good attention to detail.
You need to be able to:
- work alone and as part of a time
- work to a schedule
- understand technical plans and drawings.
- 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.
- If working with another company, you might do the Modern Apprenticeship in Gas Heating and Energy Efficiency, completing the City and Guilds Diploma in Gas Utilisation: Technical Installation Engineer at SCQF Level 6.
- Alternatively you could do a Modern Apprenticeship in Domestic 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.
- You may need the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card.
- With experience you may move into a supervisory or management position.
- Some gas heating engineers move into other areas of the industry such as sales.
- If you gain qualifications at Higher National Certificate (HNC), Higher National Diploma (HND) or degree level you could move into building services engineering.
- Alternatively you could become self-employed.
The following organisations may be able to provide further information.
Energy and Utility Skills
Tel: 0845 077 9922
Energy and Utility Skills is the Sector Skills Council for the electricity, gas, waste management and water sectors. Their website has a section aimed at 14 to 19 year olds on careers in these sectors.
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