Civil engineering apprenticeship

Civil engineering apprenticeship

Civil engineering deals with the design and construction of buildings, bridges, pipelines, railways, water supply networks, roads and other crucial parts of our society.

Civil engineers turn complex designs into reality while building our country’s infrastructure – and they rely on civil engineering technicians to provide technical support on construction projects.

As a Construction Civil Engineering apprentice there are various pathways that you can choose from. Every day on the job will be different, as all sorts of circumstances and issues arise on any large-scale project that involves so many people and resources.

Intermediate Level – The Intermediate Level apprenticeship has nine different pathways and, depending on the pathway you choose, your role will vary considerably.

  • Construction operations – As a construction operative you would work on a construction site or public place, laying drainage, placing street iron works, laying pavements and excavating holes and trenches.
  • Formwork occupations – Formworkers work on construction sites moving and handling resources to fabricate and repair forms for concrete pouring and to dismantle the formwork afterwards.
  • Highways maintenance – You will work in a public place or highway, repairing surfaces, laying drainage, placing street iron works, kerbs and pavements, installing vehicle safety fencing on highways, excavating and repairing.
  • Plant maintenance – Plant mechanics are based either on a construction site or in a workshop, repairing vehicles for various construction operations such as excavators, earth movers, folklifts, telescopic handlers and dumper trucks.
  • Plant operations – Working on a construction site, in a public place or on the highway, you will operate machinery to transfer loads, excavate, lift and move materials to given specifications.
  • Tunnelling operations – You could find yourself working underground, spraying concrete onto prepared surfaces such as tunnel linings, and stabilising rock structures. Tunnelling operatives are responsible for installing back-up services and operating tunnelling machinery.
  • Specialist concrete occupations – Operatives work on construction sites spraying concrete onto prepared surfaces such as excavated areas or water-retaining structures.
  • Roadbuilding – As in highways maintenance, you will work in a public place or highway, applying and removing pavement markings, applying specialist road surfacing, and installing and removing permanent road studs.
  • Steelfixing – Steel fixers are required to follow engineering drawings that detail the type of steel bar and spacing used as well as setting-out work to position and secure steel reinforcing bars and steel mesh used in reinforced concrete on construction projects.

Advanced Level – On the Plant maintenance Advanced Level apprenticeship you might learn to specialise in hydraulics and electrical components.

The Advanced Level apprenticeship is a perfect springboard for further qualifications that could lead to a degree in Civil Engineering or management roles.

In all roles you will need to be willing to travel to sites or, in some cases, stay in lodgings while working away from home. You will also need to have a reasonable level of fitness as many occupations are physically demanding. You should be able to work quickly while paying close attention to detail. Good maths skills are needed to take measurements, and you should be able to follow plans and written/spoken instructions. An awareness of health and safety is also necessary.


Intermediate (Level 2), Advanced (Level 3)

Starting salary:

£10,000– £16,000 (exact salaries will depend on location and other factors)

Job roles:

Construction operative, Formworker, Highways maintenance operative, Plant mechanic, Plant operative, Steel fixer

Issuing Authority:


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