As a forklift truck operator, it would be your job to load and unload goods deliveries, and move them to and from storage areas in a warehouse or depot.
Your main duties would include:
l loading and unloading goods from vehicles such as lorries or aircraft
l moving goods packed on pallets or in crates around the storage facility
l stacking goods in the correct storage bays, following stock control instructions
l checking loads are secure
l stacking empty pallets
l performing daily equipment checks, for example recharging the truck’s battery
l helping to load and unload trucks by hand where necessary
l performing other warehouse tasks like packing.
You could work with various machines including counter-balance trucks, telescopic handlers, side-loading trucks and pedestrian-controlled pallet lifting equipment.
You would normally work between 37 and 42 hours a week.
Shiftwork, including nights, is common and overtime is often available.
You would work mainly indoors in a warehouse or factory setting, and outdoors in a yard, port or airport.
Starting salaries can be between £12,000 and £13,000 a year.
Experienced operators can earn from £14,000 to £22,000 a year.
Operators may receive shift or night work allowances, and bonus schemes may apply.
There are no set entry requirements, but many employers like evidence of ability in basic maths and English.
You must complete approved forklift training before you can use a truck, but this will usually be provided by your employer.
Previous warehouse or depot experience will give you an advantage when applying for jobs, and basic maths skills would be useful for working out weights and distances.
The minimum age to start training is 16.
If you operate a forklift truck on a public road, traffic legislation applies and you must hold a valid driving licence. You may also need a driving licence and your own vehicle to get to work when shift start times are not covered by public transport.
You may be able to get into this career through an apprenticeship in, warehousing and storage. The range of spprenticeships available will depend on the local jobs market and the types of skills employers need from their workers.
If you are out of work, there may be back-to-work training schemes running in your area, which could include forklift training.
You may have to satisfy certain eligibility conditions.