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How to become a Road Worker

road worker careers

What does a Road Worker do?

Road workers, also known as highway operatives, help build new roads and maintain existing ones. They are involved in re-surfacing, repairing potholes and cracks, widening roads or digging access trenches for laying cables and pipes used to supply gas, water or telecommunications. They also maintain roadside verges and central reservations.

Some of this work is done by hand with picks and shovels, but heavy jobs involve a range of specialised machinery such as pneumatic drills, 360-degree excavators and rollers. Road workers also mix and spread materials such as aggregate, tarmac and concrete, build or repair pavements, lay kerbs, lay down road markings, and erect fences, barriers, road signs, traffic lights and street lamps.

In winter, they may also be involved in road gritting and snow clearance.

Safety plays a major role during a job and workers are responsible for setting up warning signs and cones, as well as the management of traffic and pedestrians close to the site.

What's the working environment like working as a Road Worker?

Road workers work a basic 37-hour week, often with early starts. However, overtime during evenings, nights and weekends is common, in order to minimise disruption to traffic.

Road workers work outside in all weathers and the work is noisy, dirty and physically demanding. Protective clothing such as ear defenders, safety hats and boots are worn.

The work involves travelling both locally and further afield, and can mean short or long periods away from home. A driving licence will be useful.

What does it take to become a Road Worker?

To be a road worker you should:

  • be physically fit
  • have good practical ability
  • be able to follow written and verbal instructions
  • be able to work as part of a team
  • have an awareness of health and safety issues.

Road Worker Career Opportunities

Road workers work for private civil engineering companies or for public bodies such as local councils. Work is available across the UK and abroad. Many road workers become self-employed, working on a contract basis. It may be possible to progress to supervisory positions such as 'ganger' or foreman, or to train for work on specialised machinery.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Road Worker that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

CITB-ConstructionSkills
Bircham Newton
King's Lynn
Norfolk
PE31 6RH
Tel: 01485 577577
www.citb.org.uk

Street Works Qualifications Register
Hanover House
24 Douglas Street
Glasgow
G2 7NQ
Tel: 0141 242 2239
www.streetworks.fsnet.co.uk

Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS)
Tel: 0870 417 8777
www.cscs.uk.com



Courses to help you become a Road Worker