Being a Forklift Truck Driver  - A male FLT Driver, putting a pallet of boxes onto a high shelf

Being a Forklift Truck Driver

Forklift Truck Driver (Counterbalance Forklift Driver, Reach Forklift Driver, Material Handler)
Salary: £8.23 to £11.20 ph £14,642 - £25,204 per year
Shifts: Days, nights, weekends, split shifts.

A forklift truck driver in a warehouse is also known as a Material Handler, moving large amounts of goods into warehouses and between units and shelves. 

In general, material handler duties can include:

  • Deliveries - Moving delivered products from vehicles into the warehouse, then stacking and palletising products.
  • Product placement - Moving pallets of products to and between warehouse racks. 
  • Equipment - Utilising many equipment types including hand trucks, counterbalance forklifts, sit down forklifts, stand up forklifts, cherry-pickers, clamp and reach forklifts, industrial lift trucks, and pallet jacks. 
  • Stock control - Using automatic and manual packing machines, scales and printing devices, labelling and managing inventory. 

General skills & attributes for forklift truck drivers / material handlers:

  • Forklift license (Counterbalance or Reach)
  • Additional machinery licences are an asset
  • Basic reading and maths skills
  • Organised and methodical
  • Self-motivated
  • Mechanical aptitude

Forklift truck driver shifts

A forklift driver in a warehouse can expect shift patterns that are rotational. This means that you may be doing early shifts for one week followed by a couple of days off, moving into late or weekend shifts before returning to early shifts once again. 

While shift work like this can take some getting used to initially, it does provide flexibility. Many people find rotational shift patterns helpful, knowing what your shift pattern is in advance means that you can work around your family and home commitments.

The hours and shifts you work will ultimately depend on the employer and in some cases the industry sector that the warehouse services. Some do not require late staff and so it is possible to find regular daytime hours if preferred. 

Warehouse forklift truck driver job locations

Usually located on the outskirts of cities, towns and villages, warehouses are positioned on large industrial landscapes with good access to main roads for the ease of goods transportation.

With a forklift license you will find work is plentiful in most areas, the logistics and warehousing sector relies heavily on forklift drivers and other machinery operators to move large pallets of product efficiently and safely. 

Temporary and permanent forklift truck driving jobs

Temporary forklift driver work can be a great way to build on your driving experience, you will have the opportunity to move many different types of load and navigate varying warehouse environments.

Like with all warehouse work, availability tends to be all year round but there are spikes in the number of opportunities throughout busy seasons such as Christmas time. When consumer demand reaches its peak, warehouses need to be prepared to react ensuring a consistent and plentiful supply of goods are processed and shipped.

Moving from a temporary position in to a permanent role can take time and perseverance. An employer is looking to retain the very best staff and so it is important to show that you are capable, reliable, positive and driven to maximize your skills.