how to become a forklift driver

How to Become a Forklift Driver

Forklift jobs are available across a wide range of industries and, once you follow the forklift job requirements, including forklift training, you will find this a rewarding and flexible job option that could take you across the country and even around the world if you wanted it to. If you are wondering about how to become a forklift driver, we have a few top tips for you.

how to become a forklift driver

What do forklift jobs entail?

Forklift drivers control industrial trucks, which have been designed to carry and position heavy loads. Typical tasks for forklift jobs include:

  • Moving loads between storage areas
  • Packing cargo into transport facilities
  • Safely stacking loads
  • Daily safety checks and maintenance tasks

Forklift or fork trucks have a hydraulic lifting mechanism and forklift drivers need to understand how to move and manipulate this safely in order to complete required tasks. Forklift work can be inside, typically in warehouses, or outside, for example on a dockyard. A fair amount of forklift work is shift based, which means that forklift jobs can be required around the clock.

Are academic qualifications part of the forklift job requirements?

Whilst formal academic qualifications are not necessarily forklift job requirements, there are certain competencies for which employers might be looking. These include:

    Some mathematical ability – numerical skills will help with load capacity calculation, understanding load angles and safe load heights

  • Good written English skills – a good level of English will help with loading instructions, safety information, specific forklift training and picking orders
  • You may find that some employers require a valid driving license as a minimum forklift job requirement of all their employees

If you have the above academic skills, you will be well placed to cope with any forklift job specific training that guidelines and your new employer deem necessary.

forklift job requirement

Which personal skills help with how to become a forklift driver?

If you have no previous experience of forklift work, you will need to find some way to demonstrate a set of personal skills that will help you with how to become a forklift driver. These include:

  • Teamwork – forklift work is all about facilitating a team goal. You will work with other forklift drivers, stock pickers and transport drivers to achieve this goal
  • Alertness – forklift safety is a lot about keeping alert and watching what is going on around you. Each forklift job you do will present its own hazards and it will be up to you to spot and avoid them
  • Composure – warehouses and storage facilities can be busy places, which means that forklift drivers are required to show a certain degree of patience and remain levelheaded when things start to get pressured
  • Flexibility – it is likely, should you find a forklift job in construction or manufacturing, that you will be required to use other machinery besides forklifts. Developing the ability to transfer your skills will make you more employable and benefit your career progression.

What are the physical demands of forklift jobs?

Any job that involves large machinery and heavy loads has the potential to be hazardous and understanding these hazards is an important forklift job requirement. As well as the hazards connected with machinery, it is important to remember, when thinking about how to become a forklift driver, that, as well as operating equipment, a forklift driver can expect to deal with hand-held, heavy objects and work in awkward positions. Typical forklift job requirements of a physical nature include:

  • The ability to safely lift and carry loads
  • A good sense of balance
  • The ability to work in different temperatures and weather conditions
  • The ability to stand for long periods of time
  • The ability to sit in one position for long periods of time
  • Good eyesight (with glasses or contact lenses if necessary)

forklift driving job

What is the best advice on how to become a forklift driver?

The most important forklift job requirement is specific forklift training but there are others things that you can do to make yourself more attractive to a potential employer. Working in a warehousing or logistics setting will give you a good idea of how goods inwards, picking, packing and dispatch systems work and will allow you to talk with knowledge at the interview.

Is a forklift certificate one of the forklift job requirements?
Whether you are an experienced forklift driver or not, you will require up to date, formal training before you are able to take a required forklift certification exam. Forklift training includes the following aspects:

  • Forklift theory – forklift design, the basics of forklift mechanics and the physics that govern the safe lifting of heavy loads
  • Practical skills – this will be practical training in a safe, simulated real-world situation
  • Forklift safety – including hazard avoidance, workforce protection and equipment inspections

The good news about training for forklift jobs is that it is readily available and affordable in a variety of packages either at your location or at our training centre in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire.

What training is available to help me become a forklift driver?

Forklift training in the UK can be accredited by the AITT (the Association of Industrial Truck Trainers). At AFTT (Advanced Fork Truck Training) we offer a full range of AITT accredited courses, either at your company location or at our state of the art training centre, for anybody who wants to find out how to become a forklift truck driver. These include:

  • A wide range of fork truck courses including, counter balance trucks, side loaders, container handlers, tow tractors and pivot steer trucks
  • Manager and supervisor courses including, lift truck safety awareness and manager safety awareness
  • Instructor courses including, method of instruction and an AITT accredited instructor

forklift jobs

For anyone considering becoming a forklift driver, it is important to remember that, although this can be a satisfying and adaptable career, forklift job requirements include regular, specific training, which can only be given by an organisation accredited with one of the UK’s ABA (Accrediting Body Association for workplace transport) approved providers. At AFTT we offer professional forklift training suitable for those looking into how to become a forklift driver. Get in touch with us today to find out more and obtain a free, no-obligation quote for your training needs.