Water network operatives look after the pipes, mains and pumping stations that supply homes and businesses with water.
Salary range: £15,000 to £25,000
How to become a water network operative
You can get into this job through:
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
- applying directly
You could start by taking a college course like:
- Level 1 Certificate in Construction Skills
- Level 2 Certificate in Construction Operations
You’ll usually need:
- 2 or fewer GCSEs at grades 3 to 1 (D to G), or equivalent, for a level 1 course
- 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
You may get into this career by doing an intermediate apprenticeship in the water industry.
This will usually take 16 months to complete. You’ll do on-the-job training and spend time with a college or training provider.
You’ll usually need:
- some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
There are no set entry requirements for this job though employers may prefer you to have a good general standard of education like GCSEs in English and maths.
Experience in construction, plumbing, building services engineering or plant maintenance could be useful.
You’ll find more details about working and training in the water industry from Talent Source Network.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- knowledge of maths
- the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
- to be flexible and open to change
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- knowledge of physics
- the ability to work on your own
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- knowledge of public safety and security
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
Restrictions and requirements
You may need to be registered in one of the water industry safety passport schemes, supported by the Energy & Utilities Skills Register (EUSR). The safety passport proves that you are competent to carry out work on the water network.
You may need a driving licence for some jobs.
What you’ll do
Your day-to-day duties could include:
- digging holes by hand or with mechanical digging equipment
- using maps and plans to trace where to dig
- laying and repairing water mains and pipes
- using closed circuit TV to check for blockages in pipes and drains
- clearing blockages
- installing water meters and hydrants
- maintaining vehicles and equipment
- recording details of completed work and materials used
Your working environment may be physically demanding and outdoors in all weathers.
You may need to wear protective clothing.
Career path and progression
With experience, you could progress to a team leader.
With further training, you could become an engineering technician or water engineer.