What Skills & Qualifications do I Need to be a Forklift Driver?
The material handling industry in the UK is always in need of skilled, dedicated drivers to help transport, load and unload inventory in a safe and efficient manner. If you think you’ve got what it takes to become a forklift operator, but aren’t sure whether you have the training or qualifications to pursue the career, then you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, we’ll be explaining exactly what you’ll need to follow this line of work, together with the skills and qualities that will make you the ideal candidate for such a role.
What does a forklift driver do?
Forklift drivers are expected to operate material handling equipment to help improve the overall productivity and efficiency of a warehouse or storeroom, regardless of the sector. From catering to construction, a forklift operator will be needed to enhance business operations, so they play a very important role in the industry.
As well as transporting stock in and around a warehouse, a forklift operator will also be responsible for loading and unloading inventory safely and in a timely manner. In some cases, as a forklift driver in the UK, it’s likely that you’ll be expected to pass them on to the appropriate packing department or simply transfer them to another vehicle.
As a trusted forklift driver, you’ll likely be expected to carry out the following duties:
- Loading inventory onto pallets safely and securely
- Lifting and transporting pallets
- Appropriately storing stock
- Carrying out important safety checks
- Helping to maintain the vehicles you drive
- Ensuring a clear, tidy work environment
- Checking stock to ensure it’s up to the right quality standards
What skills do you need to be a forklift driver?
There are many skills and qualities a forklift driver must have before getting behind the wheel of a material handling machine. If you don’t already have those skills, then you’ll be able to take advantage of a range of training courses to help you acquire those skills, no matter how much experience you have.
Some of the skills you’ll need to have include:
- The ability to make estimates – you’ll need to be able to estimate a number of things, including weights, distances and heights. This will ensure that you’re always lifting and transporting goods safely.
- A basic understanding of health and safety standards – it’s important that health and safety regulations are met at all times, this protects yourself and your colleagues from harm.
- Being able to work well under pressure – a warehouse can get extremely busy and so it’s important that you can still carry out the job effectively when the pressure piles on.
- A high level of concentration – this is for the safety of yourself and others who operate in and around the warehouse. It also ensures that you’re moving and handling stock in a way that protects it from damage, whilst also making sure that customers are provided with the right products.
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In addition to that, some of the other skills you’ll need include:
- Being able to work well in a team
- The ability to learn new skills quickly
- Being responsible for managing your own workload whilst looking out for others
- Being able to adapt to surroundings and situations
- Having excellent organisation skills
- Being able to keep records
- Confidently being able to swiftly report a problem if one arises
What qualifications do you need to be a forklift driver?
It’s not always necessary for a forklift driver to have relevant qualifications with regards to operating material handling equipment, although there may be some companies that prefer you to have those qualifications. Whether they’re essential to the role you’re applying for or if you’d just like to further enhance the skills you already have, then the following qualifications could be of some use to you.
- A Working with Lift Trucks Certificate – you don’t need any experience or previous material handling qualifications to enrol on this course. It’s aimed more at students and apprentices who are looking to go into the industry, no matter what their academic background may be.
- Warehouse Safety eLearning Course – if you already work in a warehouse, then this could be the perfect course for you. Many material handling companies insist that their employees enrol on this course. From shop floor workers and forklift drivers to warehouse managers and warehouse owners, it’s highly beneficial for further understanding and identifying the industry safety hazards, including fire extinguisher use and cleaning up spillages.
You don’t have to acquire these qualifications on your own, either. Your employer may be happy to enrol you on one of these courses themselves, especially if they believe it to be beneficial to your role. The only qualifications they may require you to have would be a GCSE in Maths and English, but this could depend on the employer.
Multy Lift are specialists in the supply and repair of high-quality, new and used material handling equipment. From forklifts and reach trucks to pallet trucks and mini diggers, our team of experts will have you covered. For more information about the services we’re able to offer, get in touch with us today – we’re proud to operate throughout Nottingham, Leicester, Derby, Lincoln and the surrounding areas.