A Simple Guide to Becoming a Forklift Driver

7th December 2021

Vocational industries, such as construction and warehouse operations, are extremely lucrative for prospective employees – especially in a jobseeker’s market. They offer secure and robust job opportunities, and an incredibly diverse range at that. From hands-on labouring to project management and beyond, workers are in demand. One particular position for which workers are in demand is that of the forklift driver; forklift driving is a skilled job which can offer both prospects and satisfaction. But what are the basics of forklift driving? What will you need, and how can you get on the ladder? What follows is a simple guide to becoming a forklift driver.

Job Specification

Forklift drivers are, surprisingly enough, required to drive a forklift in aid of their daily duties, which can differ depending on the organisation. Warehouse operatives might be tasked with organising stock as well as transporting and packaging orders and pallets for customers. Forklift drivers in construction might be charged with the safe transport and storage of building materials and heavy equipment.

Forklift drivers will be required to have a driver’s license at the very least; forklift licenses can often be obtained as part of your employer’s training program, but already having a license can greatly aid the employment process. Prospective forklift drivers should display attention to detail and awareness of health and safety laws, as well as a strong work ethic and a willingness to help others.

Routes To Employment

There are various ways in which you can realise a career as a forklift driver. The academic route involves the acquisition of a Level 2 Award in Bendi Forklift Truck Operations, as well as at least 2 GCSEs. For the less academically inclined, it is also possible to forge a route to forklift operations by way of an apprenticeship, which enables you to learn while gaining valuable on-site experience, as well as giving you the opportunity to gain a qualification while you learn.

Equipment Required

Much of the equipment you will need to operate as a forklift driver will be provided by your employer, but not everything – and it is important that you understand exactly what you will need in order to work safely and effectively in the field. For starters, you will need protective workwear to safely drive a forklift. A boiler suit will prevent loose articles of clothing getting snagged or trapped in dangerous forklift mechanisms, while a hard hat will provide protection from objects falling from height – a prominent hazard when storing goods in a warehouse. You will also need high-visibility clothing to indicate your presence to other workers in lower-light conditions, and safety footwear to prevent crushing injuries from falling goods or the wheels of the forklift.


Salary Expectations

While the initial training may seem like a major commitment, the average base salary for a fully-trained forklift operator lies at £11.24 an hour, with many senior and professional operatives earning double in their line of work. Forklift operation is a skilled job, but well-suited for people with practical skill-sets, and a well-rewarded position considering the relative ease of entry.