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Level 4 Cellular Network Field Engineer

Duration 36 months

This occupation is found in this occupation is found in the telecommunications cellular network infrastructure sector including managed services and maintenance. The emergence of long term evolution (LTE) and 5G technology has brought a new skill set requirement to the cellular industry. With wireless telecommunication providing a cost-efficient solution for the transportation of voice, video and data, cellular network field engineers provide an essential role in supporting the UK’s 5G rollout, thereby facilitating a reduction in the UK’s carbon footprint and its drive to carbon zero. The occupation enables employers to reduce field carbon footprints (vehicle, diesel, fuel by at least 75 %) Cellular network field engineers are highly skilled leaders of the field based team who install and maintain 4G and 5G electrical and electronic technology on masts in a range of locations and environments. These include: green field rural site locations, urban rooftop site locations, urban street work site locations, small cell site locations (shops & offices) employers include mobile network operators, tower companies, facilities management, design & construction, network equipment vendors, cellular network estate owners.

The broad purpose of the occupation is to develop, maintain and optimise the UK’s cellular network and its infrastructure, providing long term capability of resource to industry employers. This is a highly regulated occupation and sector by Ofcom, Mast and Tower Safety Group (MATS) and Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Cellular network field engineers lead the installation of a complete wireless mobile solution. This involves complex DC and AC electrical systems, fibre cabling, active radio modules and radio frequency (RF) systems being installed whilst working at great height. They also use RF and fibre installation testing techniques to meet current 4G and 5G equipment installation requirements. In addition, the engineer installs, connects and tests single mode and multi-mode fibre systems. They are the technical lead for Personal Communications Network (PCN) and Microwave rigging teams in installing radio and transmission equipment and supporting steelwork on towers and rooftops. As sites are geographically broad, including working on remote sites, a driving license is essential. Often on call, they are sometimes working alone and therefore there is an emphasis on safe working and driving practices however any working at height will have a minimum of 2 qualified persons.

In their daily work, an employee in this occupation interacts with all external partners in acquisition, design, build, maintenance and facilities management. They are required to communicate with both internal and external functions. Internally they interact with Project Managers, Project Co-ordinators, Rigging Managers, Resource Controllers, Administration, Finance. Externally they have to communicate effectively and sensitively with Site Providers, Landlords and members of the public.

An employee in this occupation will be responsible for installing, optimising and restoring service across wireless mobile technologies. They maintain the lifecycle of the telecommunications infrastructure for all operators in the UK. They are able to deliver proactive and reactive management of the mobile telecommunications infrastructure (power, environmental, network equipment, safety systems). Typically, engineers report to a line manager, rigging manager, project manager or team leader. The line manager will usually be office-based and remote from the engineer. As the prime engineer in charge of works on electrical design and installation, they are responsible for ensuring they and their teams work to current industry health, safety and environmental legislation and company-specific requirements for safe working practices. Additionally, they need to accept new elements through Health and Safety and Quality audits and ensure equipment is regularly serviced, maintained and repaired through periodic planned inspections as per contractual terms. They are responsible for ensuring assets comply with industry standard regulations, i.e. Electrical, Test and Inspection, Safe to Climb on structures and Fall Arrest Systems, RF Zones, Lock repair/etc, and external alarms are reporting environmental conditions. They are required to resolve faulty assets within contractual service level agreement timeframes and also comply with all relevant access stipulations for site owners.

Potential Job Titles

  • Cellular Network Field Engineer

  • Field Engineer

  • Field Supervisor

  • Lead Field Engineer

  • Senior Field Engineer

Apprenticeship Qualifications

On successful completion of the programme, the apprentice will be awarded with a Level 4 Cellular Network Field Engineer apprenticeship certificate (foundation degree equivalent).

Additional certifications may cover First Aid at Height, Rigging Lifting and Lowering, Working at Height, Mechanical Winch, RF Awareness, Cell Installation and Fibre (RF) Testing, Rooftop Worker, and AC/DC Electrical Training.

Successful completion makes the apprentice eligible for a Gold ECS card and full membership registration with the Institute of Telecommunications Professionals (ITP).

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