Fork lift trucks are mainly used in warehouses, stockyards, factory units and other storage areas. Items are placed on pallets, and then the operator uses the fork lift truck to move them from place to place within the working area.
Also known as
- Operator, Fork Lift Truck
- Lift Truck Operator
- FLT Driver
- Telescopic Forklift Driver
- Counterbalance Forklift Driver
- Bendi Pivot Steer Driver
- Reach Truck Driver
Video: - Donovan: Fork-Lift Truck Driver
Fork lift trucks are vehicles designed to load, unload and stack heavy or bulky goods. They are mainly used in warehouses, stockyards and other storage areas. They are highly mobile with a very small turning circle. This allows them to move easily in confined spaces. However, they do need to be operated with great care.
On the front of the truck are two forks. You must fit these forks into the pallets on which goods are stored. You then use the forks to lift the pallet, take it to where it is needed and set it down.
Some goods, such as bricks, can be moved by fork lift trucks without the need for pallets. They are stacked in bales with spaces for the forks. You must work carefully as these goods are not protected by pallets.
You sometimes have to keep records and follow instructions written on a worksheet. You are also responsible for the basic maintenance of the truck. This includes greasing or oiling parts and changing the battery.
Forklift Drivers may have to work in a noisy and dusty environment. Working outdoors in all weather conditions might also be necessary.
Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.
Personal Qualities and Skills
To become a Forklift Driver, you'll need:
- very good co-ordination
- to be able to assess weights and distances
- good levels of concentration, as the work can be repetitive
- to work safely and steadily
- patience and an awareness of what is going on around the truck
- to be the kind of person who can work well on your own
Pay and Opportunities
The pay rates given below are approximate.
- Starting: £25,000 - £30,000
- With experience: £34,000 - £39,500
- Senior Forklift Drivers earn £45,500
Hourly rates range from £10 to £14 per hour.
Hours of work
Forklift Drivers usually work a 37-40 hour week, which may include shift work, evening and weekend work. Overtime, part-time work and temporary work is common.
This career could include working on a
Where could I work?
- major retail companies
- warehousing and distribution firms
- central and local government departments
- the health service
- the armed forces
Opportunities for Forklift Drivers occur in depots in towns and cities throughout the UK.
Where are vacancies advertised?
Vacancies are advertised on all the major job boards, on Find a Job, and at Jobcentre Plus.
Entry Routes and Training
There are no set entry routes into this career. You don't need any qualifications to become a Forklift Driver. However, basic English and maths skills are useful.
Entry to this type of work is mostly through the distributive industry, such as retailing and warehousing.
Some people enter this career following a warehousing and storage Intermediate Level Apprenticeship. Take a look at our information article
If you would like some training, you could take the level 2 certificate in warehousing and storage. This course has a range of units, which include:
- picking goods in logistics operations
- wrapping and packing goods in logistics operations
- placing goods in storage in logistics operations
- maintaining the cleanliness of equipment in logistics operations
- keeping work areas clean in logistics operations
- moving and/or handling goods
- using equipment to move goods
- using a forklift side loader
- using an industrial forklift truck
- using a hoist
- using a compact crane
- keeping stock at required levels
- checking stock levels and stock records
- principles of food safety in logistics
Other courses could be available in your area.
Promotion is usually to Shift Supervisor or Team Leader positions. Some Forklift Drivers move into training roles.
It's also possible to transfer into other Operator/Driver roles with further training, for example, moving into construction as a Plant Operator.
Previous experience of stores and warehouse work is helpful for this career.
No academic qualifications are usually needed.
However, a City & Guilds level 2 qualification in forklift truck operations will help you to stand out from the crowd.
A BTEC level 2 qualification in warehousing and storage could also help you to get into this career.
For Intermediate Level Apprenticeships, you may have to sit an aptitude test involving maths, and problem solving. You might also have to sit a literacy test.
It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.
Practical experience of stores and warehouse work is helpful. A clean, current driving licence is preferred by some employers.
Some people enter this career following a Warehousing and Storage Intermediate Level Apprenticeship.
- 2% of Forklift Drivers work part-time.
Apprenticeships: Get In. Go Far
National Apprenticeship Service (NAS)
Tel: 0800 015 0400
Skills Development Scotland - Modern Apprenticeships
Tel: 0800 9178000
City & Guilds
Address: 1 Giltspur Street, London EC1A 9DD
Tel: 020 7294 2468
Northern Ireland Enquiries
Address: Nutts Corner Training Centre, 17 Dundrod Road, Crumlin, County Antrim BT29 4SR
Tel: 028 9082 5466
Construction Employers Federation (CEF)
Address: 143 Malone Road, Belfast BT9 6SU
Tel: 028 9087 7143
Careers in Logistics
Address: Langstone Technology Park, Langstone Road, Havant, Hampshire PO9 1SA
Tel: 0844 5619149
Skills for Logistics
Skills for the freight logistic industry
Tel: 0117 927 8800
Tel: 0845 6180440
United Kingdom Warehousing Association (UKWA)
Address: Walter House, 418-422 Strand, London WC2R 0PT
Tel: 020 7836 5522
J Coates (H.G.V. Services) Ltd
Address: 46-50 Great Central Street, Leicester LE1 4NF
Tel: 0800 2797944