Forklift operator, forklift truck driver
Forklift drivers load and unload goods in warehouses, ports and airports.
Salary range: £18,000 to £27,000
How to become a forklift driver
You can get into this job through:
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
- applying directly
You could do a college course, which would teach you some of the skills and knowledge you need in this job. Relevant courses include the Level 2 Award or Certificate in Forklift Truck Operations.
You may need:
- 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
You can get into this role through a supply chain warehouse operative intermediate apprenticeship.
You’ll usually need:
- some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
You can apply directly for jobs. Some employers may ask for GCSEs, including English and maths.
You’ll have an advantage if you’ve got a forklift training certificate, though your employer may put you through training to get one when you start work.
Experience of loading and unloading goods and materials in a warehouse, in freight transport or on a building site would be useful.
- you’ll need a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card or equivalent to train and work on a construction site
Make sure you get a copy of your forklift training certificate so you can use it for job applications. Unlike a driving licence, no forklift licence is issued.
You can find out more about working as a forklift driver in construction from Go Construct.
You can find details of approved forklift training providers through the Accrediting Bodies Association – Workplace Transport.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- physical skills like movement, coordination, dexterity and grace
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- sensitivity and understanding
- ambition and a desire to succeed
- the ability to work well with others
- the ability to operate and control equipment
- knowledge of public safety and security
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
What you’ll do
Your day-to-day tasks may include:
- checking equipment daily and using it safely
- loading and unloading goods from lorries, ships or aircraft
- using radio frequency equipment to keep in touch with other staff
- manually handling goods when necessary
- stacking goods and moving them around in storage bays
- picking and packing orders
- completing paperwork for delivery notes and stock control
You could work at a port, on a construction site, at an airport, in a warehouse or in a factory.
Your working environment may be physically demanding.
You may need to wear protective clothing.
Career path and progression
With experience, you could become a shift supervisor or team leader. With further training, you could work as a forklift instructor or maintenance engineer.
You could also become a warehouse manager.
You could move into industries like construction (construction plant operator) or logistics (lorry driver).