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What is a Maintenance operative? The School Leaver Guide

What is a Maintenance operative?

Maintenance operatives work in a range of settings. You could be maintaining train tracks, working on a construction site or maybe caring for a school or other public building. Exact specifications are unique to each role and employer but you will have to get to know the building or environment that you are working to maintain and make sure everything is functional and pristine. Apprenticeships are available in some fields, for example construction.

What does a Maintenance operative do?

  • Painting walls

  • Hanging doors

  • Checking safety standards are met

  • Undertaking repairs

  • Set up train tracks

  • Look after and maintain bridges

  • Use specialised equipment

  • Report accidents and issues

  • Carry out site surveys

Skills & interests required for a Maintenance operative

  • Physically fit

  • Happy to work in inclement weather

  • Attention to detail

  • Safety conscious

Working hours

Shift work is typical and in more pressurised environments maintenance operatives may even be on call. Long hours are not unusual, but hours are dependent on your specific role.

Work base

Anywhere regular maintenance is needed, for example: train tracks, a school, a hospital, or a construction site.


You would most likely be tied to maintaining one location but some roles may feature more travel, such as maintaining rail networks.

Salary ranges & earning potential

Salaries start around £18,000-£22,000 and are dependent on the specific role. With experience some roles can see salaries rise to £35,000 and beyond.

Perks & benefits

In some cases working outside is a notable benefit of working in maintenance. Until the weather gets bad, that is.

Education requirements

No specific qualifications are needed but an understanding of engineering could be beneficial and physical fitness is needed.

Useful subjects to study at school

  • Physical education

  • Engineering