Highways Cleaner

Job Description:

Highways cleaners keep footpaths, green spaces and streets clean, and deal with litter, graffiti, and items left by the public.

Job Category:
Government & Public Services

What you will do:

You may:

  • drive street cleaning vehicles
  • use cleaning machines and hand tools such as brushes
  • clear drains and gullies
  • use a pressure washer to clean paved areas
  • remove litter, graffiti and fly posters
  • use specialist machines to remove chewing gum from pavements
  • clean equipment at the end of each day


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of public safety and security
  • the ability to operate and control equipment
  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

As well as:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • customer service skills
  • physical skills like movement, coordination and dexterity
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
  • the ability to use your initiative (adaptability skills)
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a highway cleaner, specific subjects are not typically required. Highway cleaning positions often require practical skills, physical fitness, and a strong work ethic. However, certain subjects and skills can be beneficial if you’re considering a career in this field. Here are some subjects and skills that can be helpful:

  1. English Language: Effective communication skills, including reading and understanding safety instructions and workplace policies, can be important in this role.
  2. Mathematics: Basic math skills can be useful for tasks like measuring cleaning solutions or calculating cleaning timeframes.
  3. Physical Education (PE): Highway cleaning often involves physically demanding work, so being physically fit and having stamina is essential.
  4. Science: While not mandatory, having a basic understanding of environmental issues, pollution, and the effects of cleaning chemicals can be helpful.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • applying directly

You could do a college course that will teach you some of the skills for this job. Relevant courses include:

  • Level 1 Award in Cleaning
  • Level 2 Certificate in Cleaning Principles

Direct Application
You can apply directly for jobs. There are no set entry requirements, although you may need a driving licence to operate road sweeping vehicles.

Working Hours and Environment:

Typically you could work 36 – 38 hours a week, including early mornings.

Your working environment may be physically demanding and outdoors in all weathers.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career Path & Progression:

With qualifications and experience you could progress to become a supervisor or manager.