High voltage engineers play a crucial role in the electricity industry, as they design, install and maintain power distribution equipment and networks.
Securing an apprenticeship is one of the most common ways to find employment in the sector, with the entry-level roles leading to jobs as linesmen, mechanical or electrical craftspeople, cable jointers and substation fitters. Starting salaries for these hands-on jobs are typically in the range of £15,000 to £20,000, but experienced workers can earn £40,000 a year.
People with relevant degrees, usually in electrical engineering, can begin their careers as graduate trainees and work towards becoming a high voltage design, commissioning, power system or project engineer. New graduates are paid around £22,000 a year, but staff with more than five years' experience can command remuneration packages in excess of £45,000.
Most of the permanent employment opportunities in this sector are with electricity distribution companies and engineering contractors, but there are also jobs for high voltage specialists in the mining, oil exploration and manufacturing industries. Many experienced staff, particularly those with installation skills, choose to work on short-term contracts through recruitment agencies, as it can be more lucrative.
High voltage skills are in short supply and a number of roles have been designated shortage occupations, meaning it may be possible to obtain a work permit for qualified staff from outside the EU. Those jobs include line repairers and jointers, electricity distribution project manager, control engineer, project engineer and design engineer.