Highways workers build new roads and ensure that existing roads are kept in good condition.
Most highways workers start their careers as construction operatives. They learn their skills on the job and often work towards NVQs in Construction and Civil Engineering, Highways Maintenance or Road Building. In addition to NVQ qualifications, highways workers require physical fitness, practical ability, safety awareness and good team working skills.
Highways workers usually work 37 hours a week, with daily starting and finishing times varying according to daylight hours. It is not uncommon for road workers to have to work nights and weekends. The job involves working outside in all weather conditions and can be dirty, noisy and hazardous. The work may also involve considerable travel.
Private civil engineering firms and public bodies, such as local authorities, provide employment for the majority of highways workers. Jobs are available across the UK, with permanent and contract work often being advertised in the local press and through recruitment agencies.
Salaries for highways staff start at around £12,000 a year. Those working overtime and shifts attract higher salaries. With experience, highways workers may be able to take on supervisory positions. An NVQ Level 3 qualification in Construction Site Supervision (Highways Maintenance) is likely to be essential for such positions.