Highway Electrician / Service Operative

Occupation overview

  • Install, maintain (including fault diagnosis and repairs), inspect and test low voltage highway electrical equipment and systems (e.g. street lighting, traffic signals, safety cameras)
  • Carry out emergency attendance and emergency works (e.g. where a car has hit a streetlight)
  • Ensure appropriate Health, Safety & Environmental procedures including the requirements of the Highway Electrical Registration Scheme (HERS) (see www.highwayelectrical.org.uk/hers/ ) are applied
  • Ensure work is carried out efficiently, effectively and safely
  • Maintain effective working relationships
  • Work on their own initiative and also in teams and supervise the work of other team members

Skills and Knowledge

  • Health, Safety and Environmental: Understanding the requirements of their employer and industry as a whole to ensure the health and safety of employees and others affected by any work carried out and how to minimise harming the environment and to apply these before starting work and during the works both for themselves and those they are responsible for
  • Highway Electrical Equipment and Systems: Understanding and identifying the different types of equipment and systems used in the highway electrical sector, the principles of operation, and how they are installed and maintained; Understanding electrical principles and practices and applying these to highway electrical equipment and systems.
  • Planning, preparing and organising works: Understanding the requirements of the employer and industry and applying these to safely and efficiently plan, prepare and organise works on site including obtaining the necessary plant, tools, materials and competent people; allocating resources; setting individual responsibilities and ensuring the scope of work is understood
  • Installation Techniques: Understanding how to install, and actually installing and connecting a range of highway electrical equipment and components (e.g. cables, fuses, distribution boards); understanding and dealing with varying site conditions; Understanding and carrying out the relevant electrical and functional tests for installed equipment and completing records (e.g. job sheets and electrical test certificates)
  • Maintenance Techniques: Understanding the principles and practices of routine (e.g. cleaning and bulk relamping) and reactive (e.g. responding to lights or signals that are out or out of timing) maintenance including the safety and technical implications, the diagnosis and correction of faults and the tests for equipment being maintained; applying these in practice
  • Inspection & Testing principles and practices: Understanding the principles, practices and requirements of electrical and where applicable structural inspection and testing of highway electrical equipment and systems; Understanding how to verify and record the results; Carrying out electrical and where applicable visual structural inspection and testing on highway electrical equipment, recording the results and verifying whether the system complies with the industry standards and is safe, and the actions to take if this is not the case.
  • Emergency Attendance & Emergency Works: Understanding the requirements and procedures of the employer and industry and applying these to emergencies such as a road traffic incident where a vehicle impacts a street light or traffic signal, to assess the site, determine what action is required, call for appropriate additional technical back up and ensure the site is left safe and relevant reports are completed
  • Effective communication: Understanding of how to communicate effectively and how to develop and maintain effective working relationships and applying this understanding in practice so as to ensure productive working relationships; ensuring communication is clear, appropriate and understood; promoting a professional image
  • Effective supervisory techniques: Understanding the responsibilities and requirements of supervisors; Understanding the principles of effective supervision; Allocating duties and responsibilities and coordinating activities to ensure work is carried out safely, cost-effectively and within the programme of work



  • Commissioning principles and practices: Understanding the scope, purpose and procedures associated with commissioning inspection and tests, handover and recording of results; planning and carrying out the commissioning (e.g. for ensuring traffic signal installations are safe and the specification of equipment, the installation and the timings are in accordance with the customers’ requirements)



  • Health, Safety & Environment: Promoting a positive Health, Safety and Environmental culture through situational awareness and by personal example; taking appropriate actions if others are acting unsafely
  • Accepting responsibility: Taking responsibility for own and others judgements, actions and standards of work. Being aware of the limits of their own competence and taking the initiative for ensuring that their competence is maintained, developed and up to date
  • Supervision: Allocation of work tasks and monitoring performance to ensure appropriate standards of safety, workmanship and commercial performance / business needs are met and maintained


Entry Requirements

Individual employers will set the entry requirements for this apprenticeship but typically candidates will have completed the Level 2 Highway Electrical Maintenance & Installation operative apprenticeship.



The typical duration of this Apprenticeship is 24 months


Professional Qualifications / Recognition

This is a Level 3 Apprenticeship and will result at the end of the Apprenticeship, in gaining a Level 3 Certificate and a Level 3 NVQ Diploma


Completion of this Apprenticeship meets the requirements for registration to the Highway Electrical Registration Scheme (HERS), a licence to practise evidenced by the issuing of an ECS HERS Card; registration as Technician Member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (with the designatory letters (TMIET); and is designed to meet the registration requirements of the Engineering Council for Engineering Technician (with the designatory letters EngTech)

Originally published on Gov.uk, this information has been re-used under the terms of the Open Government Licence.


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