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What's a forklift driver and how do I be one?

If you want a career in the UK construction industry, then becoming a forklift truck driver is a great way to gain entry to the sector. Forklift trucks are ubiquitous on building sites, and there’s a lot of demand for people who can drive them. By becoming a forklift truck driver, you’ll join the 2.2 million people already employed in the UK construction industry.

The following article is part of out Getting Into Construction series. Here’s everything you need to know about becoming a forklift truck driver.
What Is A Forklift Driver?
A forklift driver is an operative who pilots a forklift truck, a vehicle designed for moving items from one location to another. You commonly see forklift trucks on building sits, unloading pallets of materials from delivery trucks.
Forklift drivers have the following roles and responsibilities...
Staying up to date with health and safety
Driving a forklift truck can be dangerous. There are, therefore, many health and safety regulations regarding the correct use of the vehicles. As a forklift driver, employers will expect you to know these.
Loading and unloading materials
Trucks deliver new materials to active building sites every day. Forklift drivers must unload and load those materials, as required by the project.
Following instructions and record keeping
Construction site managers need forklift drivers to respond to their instructions reliably and keep records. Forklift drivers should be able to complete work accurately and rapidly.
Most forklift truck drivers in the UK work between 37 and 42 hours per week, depending on the company. Some employers also offer overtime and work at the weekends to help bump up your pay.
How Do You Become A Forklift Driver?
Becoming a forklift truck driver is a great way to gain a springboard for career progressions. People who start as forklift truck drivers can go on to become plant operatives and even plant mechanics. Plant mechanics are responsible for repairing and maintain plant equipment.
To become a forklift driver full-time, you’ll need both a minimum set of qualifications and some training. All forklift drivers must complete approved forklift training before operating a forklift truck. Almost always, your employer will provide training for you. However, if they don’t offer training in-house, you can get it from a third-party provider. Once you’ve completed basic training, you’ll have more opportunities to extend your qualifications and build your skill set through advanced training. You don’t need any formal education to become a forklift driver. However, some firms may insist that you have GCSEs or Scottish Nationals in English and mathematics. If you want to become a forklift driver, you can find work through online job portals. You can also hand out your CV to construction firms, highlighting your experience or previous roles as a general operative. Trainee forklift truck drivers earn between £17,000 and £20,000 per year. Those with more experience can make between £20,000 and £30,000.
Forklift driving is a great entry-level position that can help launch your career. Once you’re in the construction industry and doing something that demands responsibility, you can use it as a springboard for other roles.

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