I Want Your Job... Hot Glover

'It's risky, but we make a difference'

Richard Mellor, 48, is a hot glove linesman, repairing and maintaining live high-voltage electricity lines. He works for Central Networks, a company of E.ON UK, the country's largest power and gas company and owner of Powergen.

What sort of things does a hot glover do?

I work on a network of 11,000 volts live electricity power lines, carrying out repairs, improvements and maintenance. We travel all over the country to put lines back up after storms have dashed them down, and put in transformers that step down the voltage to 240 volts so it's safe for domestic use. We can also nip problems in the bud by installing protection equipment. If a bird or a branch hits a power line, a device will trip the network out instantly and then start it again. People wouldn't notice anything more than a dip in their lights.

Isn't it dangerous?

Yes, it's risky, but I always say that being a lollipop man is dangerous if you step off the curb at the wrong time. I've been a linesman for well over 20 years, and my team is very experienced - we're masters in the field. We work on an insulated platform, wearing protective rubber sleeves and gloves for safety. We'll discuss the job carefully before we do it, agree exactly how we're going to do it, then follow a step-by-step plan. In a team of four, there'll be two guys up doing the job, one person watching them, and another working on the ground.

What sort of skills would someone need to become a hot glover?

You've got to love working outdoors, and to be very practical and fit, with a common sense approach to safety. It's important to have the confidence to tackle challenges, but seek advice for difficult problems instead of diving in. The technical skills come with training and experience. And a must for any linesman is a sense of humour - you need it when you're laden with a rubber outfit.

What's great about your job?

We get to see some beautiful countryside. No two jobs are the same, and the scenery changes daily. And there's a great sense of achievement having completed a job, knowing that no one has lost their power supply while we've been working. I feel like we make a real difference - the camaraderie is second to none. It's absolutely great working as a team and returning home safely at the end of the day for a well-earned beer.

What's not so great about it?

Occasionally I feel a little cheated when no one knows what we've done after a long and difficult job. Having power is something people take for granted when they turn the kettle on. And hot weather can be quite horrendous, because we wear three layers of flame-resistant workwear with full rubber sleeves.

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to become a hot glover?

Apply for an apprenticeship and gain as much experience as possible on overhead live work - things like repairing, restoring supplies, and maintaining lines. Build up your experience by doing as many training courses as possible. Because it's such an unusual job, it can seem daunting at first, but don't be put off. It really is the best job in the world.

What's the salary and career path like?

Our salaries stand at around £20,000, but there's the opportunity to earn much more because there's lots of overtime and unsocial hours. You start as an apprentice and work up to a linesman. Then you can start training to work on increasing voltage levels, and then get authorisation to work on live lines.

For more information on training, go to the Central Networks apprentice website www.fill-these-boots.co.uk, or to www.eon-uk.com. You can also find useful career resources at the Energy and Utility Skills Council website, www.euskills.co.uk or the Institute of Engineering and Technology website, www.theiet.org.uk.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Ashdown Group: Graduate UI Developer - HTML, CSS, Javascript

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Graduate UI Application Developer - ...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

Ashdown Group: Graduate Software Developer - Norfolk - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Software Developer - Norf...

Guru Careers: Graduate Resourcer / Recruitment Account Executive

£18k + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a bright, enthusiastic and internet...

Day In a Page

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?
Season's finale brings the end of an era for top coaches and players across the continent

The end of an era across the continent

It's time to say farewell to Klopp, Clement, Casillas and Xavi this weekend as they move on to pastures new, reports Pete Jenson
Bin Laden documents released: Papers reveal his obsession with attacking the US and how his failure to keep up with modern jihad led to Isis

'Focus on killing American people'

Released Bin Laden documents reveal obsession with attacking United States
Life hacks: The innovations of volunteers and medical workers are helping Medécins Sans Frontières save people around the world

Medécins Sans Frontières's life hacks

The innovations of volunteers and medical workers around the world are helping the charity save people
Ireland's same-sex marriage vote: As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?

Same-sex marriage

As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?
The underworld is going freelance: Why The Godfather's Mafia model is no longer viable

The Mafia is going freelance

Why the underworld model depicted in The Godfather is no longer viable