The UK plumbing and heating industry has recently been in a severe shortage of skilled labour. Gas engineers and plumbers have been in short supply for some time now. Most of the plumbers have been forced to down their tools since they had no time to spare for the career with their tight schedules. The country urgently needs more gas engineers to keep the vital industry in operation.
Although there are a lot of new gas engineering jobs coming up all over the UK, it takes a few years to complete a college course in this field. The case is not different with apprenticeships.
We detail some of the basic requirements of how you can become a gas engineer and put your skills to good use.
Essential skills a Gas Engineer should have?
A gas engineer should be efficient in solving technical problems. However, this is not the only skill you should look for in a potential Gas Engineer. There are a variety of skills an individual should have to become a Gas Engineer.
- A passion for fixing and maintaining appliances on a daily basis: The work is tedious and repetitive, which is annoying for most individuals. To be a successful gas engineer, you must be enthusiastic about fixing appliances for the more significant part of your day.
- Basic knowledge in gas and heating appliances and exemplary skills in solving practical problems: Basic IT and mathematics skills are an added advantage.
- Excellent people skills, through expressing a professional yet friendly approach to issues raised by clients.
- Great management of time.
- Ability to work on your own and still have attention to detail as well as along with a team from time to time.
- Ability to be strict with the specifications provided and ensuring the work is carried out at the highest standard possible.
Most gas engineering careers kicked off in an apprenticeship scheme. The primary reason for this, is that it is practical and on the job. You have to have some sort of experience in a gas engineering company to enrol for a course in gas work.
What’s more, you are required to have attained four GCSEs from A to C grade. The cluster for the grade should include English, Mathematics, and any other two subjects relevant to the course, for instance, Technology or Science. In the course of your apprenticeship, you will learn how to repair and service gas and heating appliances and how to maintain gas safety as you work.
To keep developing your career as a gas engineer, we encourage you to keep learning new skills and keep an open mind. Throughout your career, you will encounter new and varied problems that will sharpen your knowledge and skills. Remember to practice your skills on the latest appliances so that your skills remain relevant to the evolving industry.
What is the fastest way of becoming a Gas Engineer?
Apprenticeships and college courses are available for budding gas engineers and intensive online gas training courses have risen in popularity over the past few years in the UK. You can also achieve Gas Safe status through the fast track course available for you here.
What does gas engineering entail?
Mostly referred to as Gas Service Technicians, Gas Engineers incorporate aspects of practical skills and problem-solving to resolve technical issues. You will need to have great attention to detail and have a keen eye to succeed in this field. You will also need to be competent in Mathematics and Science.
Gas Engineers are responsible for the installation, repair, and servicing of heating systems and gas appliances across the country. As a gas engineer, you will mostly encounter appliances such as cookers, heating systems, boilers, and gas fires.
Though harnessing your practical skills is an essential part of this career, you will also need to leverage your people skills. You will be travelling to different homes in the country to fix appliances and will approach different customers in your job. This demands that you have a friendly yet professional personality at all times.
It will be your responsibility to manage your orders in the given time frame. You will have several orders in a day in different locations, which demands excellent time management skills.
The Standards of Training in Gas Engineering
You will need to pass a gas safe registration and an industry qualification to become a Gas Engineer in the UK. Industry qualifications usually an NVQ (discussed below) or a Diploma in courses like; Domestic Plumbing, Domestic Natural Gas Installation and Maintenance, and Gas Insulation.
You will also be legally required to be accepted on the gas safe register. The gas safe register covers the appliances you are cleared to work on. You will be allowed to work only on the appliances listed. It is, therefore, crucial to note the devices that you intend to be working on from the beginning of your course. Individuals who specify their preferred appliances early on have the chance to ensure that they get the relevant qualifications for the preferred appliances while tackling their course.
You can take a Gas Assessment Training (ACS) certificate to be listed on the Gas Safety Register. To be awarded the certificate, your skills and experience are assessed by an expert, who determines if you are capable of working safely on gas and heating systems.
The Gas Safe register only recognises the following as evidence of competence in gas safety.
With no prior experience in the gas industry, you will require the National Vocational Qualification / Scottish Vocational qualification. This is a more formal qualification that covers the 6012 range of Gas Services NVQs for
- Natural gas installation and maintenance at levels 2 and 3
- Appliance pathway routes
- Emergency service operations
The three requirements are also aligned with the ACS criteria.
Generally referred to as ACS, the National Accredited Certification Scheme ensures that individuals joining the industry are assessed against a set of criteria. The industry designed the criteria to evaluate the best working practice, competence in the current standards, and technology.
ACS is, however, only available for experienced gas engineers. It allows these professionals to acquire a certificate of competence under the Gas Safe Register.
The Qualification Credit Framework (QCF)
The Qualification Credit Framework is an award offered by the Scottish Qualifications Authority. It is also aligned with ACS qualifications. The range of as services covered by the certification include:
- Both natural and LPG gas
- Installation and maintenance of domestic appliances
- Meter installation.
It is essential for individuals who have met these standards to note that qualifications older than five years need to update and reassess.
The Sector Skills Council (SSC) produced the assessment strategy for individuals looking to join the industry under the EU Skills guideline. You can visit the official EU Skills website to see details on qualifications and training packages.
After a successful application to be registered as a Gas Engineer, individuals are given a probationary registration status as they await the results of their registration. While in a probationary status, your business is fully registered to carry out gas related services. However, your business must adhere to the strict requirements laid out below in the probationary period.
- The probation period lasts up to three months
- Your business must keep records of all your gas work and notify the relevant authorities when the assigned work is complete. Section 3b of the Rules of Registration has the details of the requirements. This service is free for all individuals in the UK who wish to register
- Any history your business has on the registration scheme will be used to assess your progress over the probation period
- Your business can only graduate out of the probationary period by demonstrating its competence over the entire inspection process.
- The industry’s qualifications authority reserves the right to extend the probationary period of a particular firm or individual if it is not satisfied by the individual’s competence in specific fields. If any of your engineers or businesses have their probation period extended for any of the laid out reasons, support shall be accorded by the board to help you through the period.
Probation registrations are only valid for a year, after which you will be required to renew the registrations. The official website contains all the information on current fees for registrations and renewals.
What is the average pay for Gas Engineers?
The salary of a qualified gas engineer is dependent on two factors: The location and the company. The typical pay for a gas technician/ engineer is somewhere between £25,000 and £35,000 annually. Most people who find themselves in this career learn the skill through apprenticeship, where they are offered a salary of around £15,000 per annum as a start.
There may, however, be opportunities to make an extra income in this career. Many firms offer extra pay for bonus structures and overtime work.
Does the field allow you to progress?
The key to progressing to higher levels in this industry is making sure that you have acquired plenty of experience before applying for more senior positions such as supervisors and managers.
Some firms in the industry may require further specialisation in your course or encourage you to enrol for additional training to offer you employment in senior positions.
What are the merits of being a Gas Engineer?
As a gas engineer, you have the luxury of working outside office confinements in most of your day to day scenarios. You will also regularly meet new people and talk both on a professional and friendly level.
A gas engineering career puts your future in your hands. Progression in the industry is almost solely determined by the experience that you earn. The more you work, the higher you climb up the ladder.
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