Gas network engineers are the people who keep everything ticking over when it comes to the world of residential gas, maintaining and installing new supply lines to provide houses and businesses all over the country with gas.
Mainly, they spend their working life laying or repairing gas pipe systems, responding to emergencies such as leaks and breaks in the line, and connecting new businesses and homes to the existing network.
As a GNE, you’d be expected to spend your days out in the field, locating pipes using specialist technology, and then taking care of any issues, whilst avoiding other important utilities such as electricity in order to minimise disruption and maximise safety to the general public.
Salary & benefits
Whilst as in most jobs salaries vary based on your employer or your location, there are some figures which can be used as a ballpark.
Starting salaries for apprentices are usually between £9,000 and £11,000 per year, and this would increase to around £16,000 per annum once training was completed.
On top of this, team leaders can expect to earn between £19,000 and £21,000, whilst those in management would receive a further salary increase, up to the £25,000 mark or more.
However, with overtime and shift bonuses on top of these salaries, GNE’s can earn considerably more over the course of any given year.
You’d be expected to work a 37 hour week, Monday to Friday, as standard, although occasionally you’d be expected to work overtime if a particular job needed completion within a timeframe. Some work would also need to be completed over a weekend in order to minimise disruption to the public.
With this in mind, most GNE’s would be part of a rotational system for emergency repairs outside of standard working hours.
There are approximately 20,000 employed in the gas network in the UK, and jobs are spread out across the country. The profession continues to grow, and with an overhaul of the entire gas network planned in the next 25 years this will continue to be the case.
There are no specific entry requirements to train as a GNE, although some employers may ask for GCSEs, especially in maths and English. Most common as a route in is an Apprenticeship, which provides a learning program alongside on-the-job training.
Previous work experience in any of the construction or services fields would be considered a bonus, and some employers will ask for a clean driving license, as some work may need to be driven to.
Training & progression
Training combines practical skills needed on the job with formal theoretical education at a training centre or college.
Health and safety is a key part of training and will focus on keeping the apprentice and those around them safe when working with any type of explosive gas.
GNEs will often work towards an appropriate NVQ qualification in gas network operations, which is the standard industry qualification for the role.
As people gain experience and progress within their career, they often obtain qualifications to climb the ladder.
Once a GNE has achieved NVQ Level 3, they can achieve craftsperson status and can also be promoted to become a technician, which involves managing teams and being a leader within the industry. They can then look to enter a managerial role.