Overview of the role

Install and commission compressed air and/or vacuum equipment and their associated systems; and complete servicing, fault diagnosis, repair and to ensure equipment is operating and controlled at its optimum efficiency.

Details of standard

Occupation summary

This occupation is found in the compressed air and vacuum industry, which is made up of manufacturers and distributors of compressors, vacuum pumps, pneumatic tools and allied products.

Compressed air is air kept at a pressure that is greater than normal air pressure (atmospheric), anything less than atmospheric air pressure is defined as vacuum. Compressed air and vacuum systems may consist of the compressor or vacuum pump, air receivers, filtration, dryers, condensate drains and treatment, controller and pipework system. There are many uses for compressed air and vacuum air including energy for power tools, atomising of paint, operation of air cylinders for automation, conveyancing of materials, instrument air for clean process control equipment and fluids and gas generation (oxygen or nitrogen). Industries that use compressed air and vacuum systems include manufacturers, pharmaceutical, electronic manufacturing, oil and gas, power stations, garages, hospitals, dentists, transportation and plant hire companies. The continuous supply of compressed air is vital to all manufacturing processes. The latest compressed air and vacuum equipment are innovative engineered products, which use information technology (IT) control systems and the ‘Internet of Things’ to ensure cutting edge efficiency.

The broad purpose of the occupation is to install and commission compressed air and/or vacuum equipment and their associated systems; and complete servicing, fault diagnosis, repair and to ensure equipment is operating and controlled at its optimum efficiency. They agree the work scope with the customer and handover - detailing the work completed, providing technical and regulatory advice and any further recommendations. They will complete a range of documentation/reports, including risk assessments and service records. The role requires practical hands on engineering skills and good communication skills with colleagues, management, suppliers and end users.

They may work at a static site or as a mobile engineer working at customers' premises. They may use an allocated service vehicle, equipped with tooling and spares to travel to appointments at end user premises, therefore typically a driving license is required.

In their daily work, an employee in this occupation interacts with their team colleagues, managers, sub-contractors and customers. They may work as part of a team or solo. They will typically report to a service manager. An employee in this occupation will be responsible for ensuring compliance with health, safety and environmental standards, regulations and laws, including pressure systems safety (PSSR) and fluorinated greenhouse gas (F Gas). They often work unsupervised, are responsible for the quality of their own work and possibly others.  They must ensure the work is completed safely and efficiently, meeting stakeholders' quality, time and budget requirements, whilst maintaining the efficient running of end user plant and equipment. As a customer facing role, they must present a professional image of the company and themselves.

Typical job titles include:

Air treatment engineers Air treatment technicians Commissioning engineers Electrical engineer Electrical technicians Installation engineers Mechanical engineer Mechanical technicians Pressure systems competent person (examiner) Product support engineers Service engineers Service technicians

Occupation duties

Duty KSBs

Duty 1 Plan and organise work to meet customers’ requirements and priorities

K12 K18

S9 S15

B3 B4

Duty 2 Install equipment, using the agreed preferred compressed or vacuum air pipework system

K1 K4 K5 K7 K8 K9 K10 K12 K14

S1 S3 S8 S11 S12 S13

B1 B2 B3 B4

Duty 3 Commission installed compressed air and vacuum equipment

K1 K4 K6 K9 K10 K13 K14

S2 S3 S7 S8 S10 S11 S12 S13

B1 B3 B6

Duty 4 Service compressed air and vacuum equipment

K2 K4 K6 K8 K9 K10 K11 K12 K13 K14 K16 K17

S3 S4 S5 S7 S8 S9 S10 S11 S12 S13 S14 S15

B1 B4 B5

Duty 5 Service compressed and vacuum air treatment equipment

K2 K4 K6 K8 K9 K10 K11 K12 K14 K16 K17

S3 S4 S7 S8 S9 S10 S11 S12 S13 S14 S15

B1 B4 B5

Duty 6 Complete mechanical fault diagnostic and mechanical repairs to a compressed air or vacuum system

K1 K3 K9 K10 K11 K14 K16

S3 S4 S6 S7 S8 S9 S10 S11 S12 S13 S14 S15

B1 B3 B4 B5 B6

Duty 7 Complete electro-mechanical fault diagnosis and repairs to a compressed air or vacuum system

K1 K3 K6 K9 K10 K11 K14 K16

S3 S4 S6 S8 S9 S10 S11 S12 S13 S14 S15

B1 B3 B4 B5 B6

Duty 8 Complete the electrical fault diagnosis and repairs to a compressed air or vacuum system

K1 K3 K6 K9 K10 K11 K14 K16

S3 S4 S6 S8 S9 S10 S11 S12 S13 S14 S15

B1 B3 B4 B5 B6

Duty 9 Complete the electronic fault diagnosis and repairs to a compressed air or vacuum system

K1 K3 K6 K9 K10 K11 K14 K16

S3 S4 S6 S8 S9 S10 S11 S12 S13 S14 S15

B1 B3 B4 B5 B6

Duty 10 Complete process and energy usage monitoring of current energy performance of vacuum air and or compressed air systems

K1 K6 K7 K9 K10 K11 K16

S3 S8 S11 S12 S15

B1 B4

Duty 11 Adjust compressed air or vacuum controls to ensure equipment is operating at optimum efficiency

K1 K6 K7 K10 K14 K16

S3 S10 S11 S12 S13 S15

B1 B4

Duty 12 Provide technical and regulatory advice to customers

K1 K2 K4 K5 K6 K7 K10 K11 K14 K15

S12 S13 S15

B1 B4 B5 B6 B7

Duty 13 Complete documentation/reports such as risk assessments, method statements, job reports, stock control records, diagnosis/fault finding reports

K8 K10 K13 K14 K16 K17

S4 S10 S11 S12 S13 S15

B1 B4 B5 B6



K1: Principles of design and operation of compressed air and vacuum generation, filtration, drying, condensate treatment equipment; the different industry application specification requirements, approved Codes of Practice (ACOP), guidelines including British Compressed Air Society (BCAS) best practice guides and fact-sheets Back to Duty

K2: Maintenance requirements and techniques for compressed air and vacuum equipment, for example preventative and predictive maintenance Back to Duty

K3: Fault finding and repair requirements and techniques for compressed air and vacuum equipment, for example diagnostic techniques and testing Back to Duty

K4: System installation, commissioning and decommissioning of compressed air and vacuum equipment, including system components, safe working limits, electrical, mechanical and ventilation requirements, site surveys and leak testing Back to Duty

K5: Piping specifications; the different materials, joints, fixings and consideration of sizing, pressure, lengths and routing requirements Back to Duty

K6: Electrical system principles, for example, AC single/three phase power, DC power, motors, control systems and system connectivity (i4.0). Techniques in the safe use of electrical test equipment and electrical isolation Back to Duty

K7: Calculations, conversions, flow rates and equipment sizing used in compressed air and vacuum activities Back to Duty

K8: Inventory management, including the identification of equipment and parts, stock value, stock management systems and the correct handling of parts and returns process Back to Duty

K9: Safe correct use and storage of equipment and tools for example hand tools, lifting equipment, calibrated tools, power tools, meters, gauges, Carbon monoxide/Carbon dioxide (CO/CO2) monitors and test equipment Back to Duty

K10: Health and Safety and how it must be applied, Control Of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH), risk assessments, method statements, permits to work, manual handling, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), asbestos awareness, working in confined spaces, working at height, slips trips and falls, electric compliance, safety passports, food hygiene, vehicle safety, noise regulation, lone working. Pressure Systems Safety regulations (PSSR) and the Provision of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER), Lifting operations and lifting equipment regulations (LOLER) Back to Duty

K11: Environmental considerations, including Environmental Protection Act, Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE), fluorinated greenhouse gas (F Gas), hazardous waste regulations and the waste-water Directive (WWD), recycling and waste disposal, energy monitoring, leak detection and equipment data logging to optimize energy performance Back to Duty

K12: Planning techniques, including time management skills, work-flow, job allocation Back to Duty

K13: Documentation requirements, for example service reports, checklists, written schemes of examination and vehicle safety checklist Back to Duty

K14: Communication techniques - verbal and written Back to Duty

K15: Training, mentoring and coaching techniques; how to pass on knowledge, and provide guidance to customer/stakeholder Back to Duty

K16: Professional relationships, including; etiquette, expectations, responsibilities. Equality and diversity considerations Back to Duty

K17: Information Technology (IT) in the workplace, for example hardware devices, software, connectivity protocols, and work management systems Back to Duty

K18: Service Level Agreements, for example employer/employee responsibilities and commercial contracts Back to Duty


S1: Install compressed air or vacuum equipment, piping, electrical connections and control systems. Back to Duty

S2: Commission compressed air or vacuum equipment and/or components. Back to Duty

S3: Lock off and isolate equipment; electrical and mechanical. Back to Duty

S4: Decommission and disconnect specified equipment or components, for long term shut down or disposal for example. Categorise equipment for reuse, disposal or recycling and when necessary, complete storage measures to prevent deterioration. Back to Duty

S5: Maintain and service compressed air or vacuum equipment or components. Back to Duty

S6: Diagnose; rectify faults and/or repair of compressed air or vacuum equipment, components and systems. Back to Duty

S7: Inspect pressure/vacuum vessels, their safety devices and/or other equipment. Back to Duty

S8: Select and use hand tools, specialist tools and instruments, including test equipment. Check tools and identify and report tool defects where necessary. Store of tools and equipment. Back to Duty

S9: Plan and prepare for work, for example task delegation, work-flow, route planning and time management. Obtain and check parts. Back to Duty

S10: Report and record work activity, for example asset management records, work sheets, checklists, waste environmental records and any legal reporting requirements. Back to Duty

S11: Adhere to heath and safety regulations, legislation and safe working practices; identify risks, hazards and control measure. Back to Duty

S12: Read and interpret technical and safety documentation, for example risk assessments, method statements, permits to work, operation and maintenance manuals and wiring diagrams. Back to Duty

S13: Communicate with stakeholders - internal and/or external, for example customers, colleagues, managers and the general public. Back to Duty

S14: House-keeping, including restoring the work area on completion of the activity, returning any resources and consumables, disposal of waste, re-cycling/re-using where appropriate. Back to Duty

S15: Use IT, for example document creation, communication and information management. Back to Duty


B1: Prioritises Health, safety and environment. Back to Duty

B2: Team player, for example; integrates and communicates with the team, supports other people, considers implications of their own actions on other people and the business whilst working effectively to get the task completed, reliable, punctual, meticulous, trustworthy, honest, determined, perseveres, acts with integrity. Back to Duty

B3: Adaptable, for example, responds to unforeseen circumstances, improvises in environment or time challenged conditions, resilient under pressure. Back to Duty

B4: Takes responsibility for job, for example a desire to see a job through from start to finish and verify that it has been completed to the required standard. Back to Duty

B5: Quality focus, for example attention to detail, accuracy, customer orientated, implements quality and lasting repairs. Back to Duty

B6: Professional - represents employer/themselves well, for example communicates clearly, presentable, passion for product, ambassadorial nature, instils confidence. Back to Duty

B7: Committed to continuous professional development in order to ensure growth in ability and standards of work. Back to Duty


English and Maths

Apprentices without level 2 English and maths will need to achieve this level prior to taking the End-Point Assessment. For those with an education, health and care plan or a legacy statement, the apprenticeship’s English and maths minimum requirement is Entry Level 3. A British Sign Language (BSL) qualification is an alternative to the English qualification for those whose primary language is BSL.

Professional recognition

This standard aligns with the following professional recognition:

  • The Society of Operations Engineers for The Society of Operations Engineers.
  • Engineering Council for Engineering Technician (EngTech). Apprentices will need to complete an application process where they demonstrate competence against UKSPEC, in order to become EngTech.

Additional details

Occupational Level:


Duration (months):



this apprenticeship will be reviewed in accordance with our change request policy.

Status: Approved for delivery
Level: 3
Reference: ST0817
Version: 1.0
Date updated: 09/02/2022
Approved for delivery: 13 May 2020
Route: Engineering and manufacturing
Typical duration to gateway: 36 months (this does not include EPA period)
Maximum funding: £14000
LARS Code: 562
EQA Provider: Ofqual
Employers involved in creating the standard: ACL Engineering, Air Equipment, Air Services, Atlas Copco, Boge Compressor, Gardner Denver, HPC Compressed Air Systems, Ingersoll Rand International, Maziak Compressors, Parker Hannifin

Version log

Version Change detail Earliest start date Latest start date Latest end date
1.0 Approved for delivery 13/05/2020 Not set Not set

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