For many people, school has finished permanently and school leavers around the country are looking for jobs. So, what is the next step? For some people, college and university are the only ways to go. However, what if that isn’t your dream? What if you want to get to work? Being a forklift driver is a practical job that requires some specialist training but it is part of a growing industry. 

What do you need to be a forklift driver?

In order to drive a forklift, you must be a minimum of 16 years old, however you need to be 18 and over to work in an area that is considered toxic or hazardous. The 18 and over rule also applies to working in shipping areas or the docks. You will also need at least 2 GCSEs at grade A*-D in order to take the course and obtain your licence. The training can cost between £650-£700 for someone with no experience. Further training can cost between £100-£300, depending on the course that you choose.

What type of licence are there?

Once you have your basic forklift licence, you will be able to take additional training in order to drive other specialiste forklifts. These include rough terrain forklifts which are used in construction sites or by the military, or an industrial side loader. The type of licence you choose will depend on where you plan on working, or what requirements your current employer desires. You do not need a car licence to be able to drive a forklift, and these are two separate licences.

Where can I work?

Forklift drivers are required in many different places. The one you are probably familiar with is working in a stockroom or warehouse. However, they are also needed to work in hazardous storage areas and factories, as well as construction yards and loading docks. With the rise of big businesses and international shipping services, the demand for forklift drivers is set to rise over the next few years, so you can expect to see plenty of jobs becoming available in airports and docks to help transport goods.

What about long term?

Once you have your certificates, you will have skills that can be used for the rest of your working life. If you are applying for jobs, it is seen as a desirable skill, even if the job you are applying for isn’t a driver job. General warehouse staff and employees of big box companies are always using a variety of skills. And if you start off as a driver, you could find yourself working your way up the career ladder and becoming a warehouse manager.

Driving a forklift is seen as a specialist skill that can last you for the rest of your life. So if you are looking for a job this summer, you may want to consider the other skills which you could bring to the table as a driver. You might be surprised by the doors that open up.