What do you need to do to become a Forklift Driver?

Have you ever thought about driving for a living? Or working in the Warehouse & Logistic industry?

If you have thought about working as a driver, but don’t have an LGV, don’t despair, there are plenty of excellent driving jobs and opportunities that don’t require expensive training, or pre-existing LGV licenses, and yet offer excellent pay and benefits. One of them is a forklift operative.

Forklift Driving as a Career

Forklift operators are required in lots of industries, from logistics companies to manufacturer and industrial enterprises all across the UK. In fact, without that dedicated workforce of forklift drivers, materials handling would be much more difficult – in fact, minimal freight would be moved.

At the Transport Training Academy, we help hundreds of people become forklift drivers, by providing top quality training and certification programmes. To help you decide if forklift training is for you, check out this short guide to all the requirements.

Do you need a Forklift Driver License?

There is no such thing as a Forklift Driver Licence. Forklift drivers don’t have a formal licensing authority, unlike other types of drivers.

However, employers have a legal responsibility to ensure safety at work and most reputable employers regard forklift training as part of their responsibility to keep staff and equipment safe. As a result, the industry has worked with the government to develop training courses and certification schemes that mean that most companies require some form of certification for forklift drivers.

That means that to work as a forklift driver, you do have to undergo training.

In the UK, there are six accrediting organisations approved by the Health and Safety Executive:

  • RTITB Limited – Formally the Road Transport Industry Training Board
  • ITSSAR – Independent Training Standards Scheme and Register
  • iTruck
  • CITB – Construction Industry Training Board
  • Lantra National Training Organisation Limited
  • NPORS – National Plant Operators Registration Scheme 

Here at TTA, we are duel accredited by RTITB and ITSSAR standards. We deliver both Counterbalance and Reach Courses from our Centres in Manchester and Burnley.

Why do you need forklift driver training?

One simple reason is safety. On average, somebody is killed every 6 weeks in the UK by a forklift truck. Forklift trucks are specifically designed to carry heavy or unwieldy loads in confined spaces. As a result, their shape, weight distribution and size make them very different from almost any other vehicle you might drive.

Driving an empty forklift is difficult and different enough; add a load or a height loading requirement, and the operation becomes considerably challenging. Loading and stacking shelves in a confined space, with an unusual vehicle, requires skills that can only be acquired through training and practice.

What does forklift driver training involve?

Training encompasses the following areas:

  • Safety codes of practice
  • Theory of driving
  • Safe operating procedures
  • Hydraulic systems
  • Loading/unloading of vehicles
  • Daily checks
  • Manoeuvring exercises
  • Health and safety at work
  • Weight assessment
  • Corrective driving
  • Driving on/off ramps
  • Load handling

One of the most common issues new forklift drivers have is tipping. There are built-in counterbalances for lift trucks, however, these only go so far in preventing a forklift from tipping over. Additionally, an unloaded forklift is automatically unbalanced. Drivers need to know how to deal safely with any issue that comes their way.

How long does forklift training take?

If you are looking to work as a forklift driver, most employers will expect you to have formal training and certification. Employers expect the forklift drivers they hire to be ready to get to work immediately, with no need for in-house training.

If you are hoping for a career as a forklift operator, it is advisable to undergo training and certification before you start looking for work.

Training for lift truck certification with TTA is quick and straightforward. With our courses, it is possible to go from an inexperienced operator to a fully trained and certified lift truck driver in a matter of days. Our list of courses includes: –

Novice Training – 5 Days

This course for new operators with no previous forklift experience, is a full, five-day course. This course culminates with a certification exam. Once passed the learner is awarded with a forklift certificate from either RTITB or ITSSAR.

Experienced Operator – 3 Days

If you have more experience of operating a lift truck, but have never received any formal training or certification, TTA can support you with a more concentrated three-day course. This course will take advantage of your experience and combine it with the extra knowledge you need to pass the certification exam.

Refresher Course – 1 Day

The one-day refresher courses are designed for experienced drivers who have already been certified. At TTA we know that even the best drivers in the industry sometimes need to brush up on skills and knowledge. A refresher course allows you to keep your certification current, and prospective employers happy.

Maintaining your forklift certification

As we mentioned, there is no formal licensing requirements for forklift drivers. This means that there is no official means of maintaining your certification. We recommend that our forklift drivers obtain documentation proving training and certification have been completed. We provide all the relevant documents and certificates as part of our package. If you move from one employer to another, you will need this documentation to secure future roles.

Why not call us for an informal chat?

Why not contact us today to learn more about getting your forklift certificate? In just five days’ time, you could be certified to work as a forklift operator.

Please call us on 01942 874 686 (Manchester) or 01282 332 098 (Burnley)