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Highway electrical industry careers: perks and entry routes

Insights

Published:  March 21, 2024

The highway electrical industry has much to offer anyone considering a career in this ever-changing sector.

From upgrading streetlights and inspecting safety cameras to diagnosing traffic light faults on the country’s main roads, there are a vast range of critical infrastructure challenges and responsibilities to manage during the day-to-day of a professional in the highway electrical industry.

Plus, with the array of new systems being developed nowadays, the highway electrical industry is becoming increasingly rewarding and fast-paced, with plenty of exciting opportunities to get involved in.

Whether you’d like to install and maintain highway assets or technology systems out in the field, get involved with project management, assist with procurement, provide logistical and administrative support or specialise in health and safety, there’s a role to suit everybody.

So, what are the top perks of a career in the highway electrical industry — and which routes can you take to get started?

Why choose the highway electrical industry?

Fans of hands-on tasks, road-safety enthusiasts and those who have enjoyed their experiences in similar lines of work have plenty of reasons to think about starting a career in the highway electrical industry. To name a few…

You can get involved with new tech

Right now, a host of innovative technologies are being integrated within motorways and road networks — and you could play an exciting role in this as a professional in the highway electrical sector.

For example, by assisting with the rollout of electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure, you could help support the country’s transition towards more efficient, eco-friendly transport systems. This would entitle you to some rather impressive bragging rights; after all, EVs are the cars of the future.

Job-creating pathways are opening up all the time

Cutting-edge technologies for the highway electrical industry — such as traffic control systems powered by artificial intelligence (AI) — are constantly emerging, and skilled professionals are needed to implement them.

In turn, new, well-paid job opportunities crop up often, giving you the chance to expand your skill set and climb the ranks. Just think — you could start as a general technician and end up as an expert in all things AI. How exciting is that?

You’ll be making a real difference to local areas

With a career in the highway electrical sector, you’ll always be doing something (big or small) to improve the world around you, which is bound to feel pretty good.

Imagine you get involved in the lighting industry — swapping energy intensive discharge lighting for dimmable, warmer-toned LED-powered alternatives or rectifying a faulty streetlight to stop it from endangering road users and pedestrians. In this case, you could play an active role in creating safer, happier communities!

Is all the above igniting a spark of curiosity within you? Great! You just need to think about which avenue you’d like to take to get your foot in the industry and start reaping all these rewards…

Where should you start?

Although you may require some formal qualifications to start working in the highway electrical industry, there’s more than just one way to obtain them.

One option is completing an undergraduate degree in a subject like civil, structural or environmental engineering. You’ll typically need two or three A Levels (or equivalent) to do this, and it’ll take three years to finish the course if you study full-time.

Alternatively, anyone over the age of 16 can gain the Level 2 and Level 3 certificates in Highway Electrical Work through an apprenticeship, which provides hands-on work experience and training within 12–18 months. Meanwhile, professionals with experience in related industries can just take the Level 3 assessment to prove they’ve got relevant knowledge.

Whichever road you go down, you can further prepare to start your career in the highway electrical sector by taking relevant training courses and expanding your network at industry events: two things the Highway Electrical Association (HEA) can help with.

As a trade association with a 70+ year history, we’re one of the largest and most influential bodies representing the highway electrical industry.

Facilitating and leading the development of relevant qualifications, we organise regular training courses. Plus, when you become a HEA member, we offer access to exclusive seminars, exhibitions and more — perfect places for you to rub shoulders with experts, establish professional connections and get yourself in the sights of a potential employer.

Ultimately, embarking on a new career can be daunting. But when you’re joining the highway electrical sector, it’s a leap worth taking — and we’re here to support you every step of the way.

To learn more about how the HEA can help you with your career in the highway electrical industry, contact us at 01903 705140 or email contact@thehea.org.uk.

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