Courier

dispatch rider messenger

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would collect packages, documents and letters from customers and use a van, motorbike or bike to deliver them quickly and reliably.

Most of your work would be for businesses which need to send something to another business or to a customer. The parcel may be urgently required or it may contain confidential documents that cannot be posted.

The package would probably need to be delivered as soon as possible after you pick it up.

You’d usually work in and around large towns and cities. But you could also work on cross-country deliveries.

You would:

  • Collect a schedule of pick-up points and deliveries from your depot
  • Plan routes and sort the jobs into order for dropping off the items
  • Find the quickest routes to delivery addresses
  • Sign for the packages that you pick up and get signatures when you deliver them
  • Keep paperwork and delivery records up to date

You’d usually drive a van or ride a motorcycle, but in larger cities you might work as a bicycle courier.

Working conditions

Hours

Your average working week in a full-time job would be around 30 to 40 hours. This may include evenings, weekends or shifts. Part-time work is often available.

Travel

As a motorcycle or bicycle courier, you would mainly work in city centres and surrounding areas. If you work as a van courier, you may have to spend periods away from home, as some companies deliver goods across the country.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Communicating with people
  • Working on your own
  • Being physically fit
  • Time management
  • Working with numbers

Build your skills

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

To understand more, have a look at what are my skills?

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Qualifications

No formal qualifications are required but most employers will value a good general education with English and maths. Some employers will ask for qualifications at SCQF level 4/5.

Useful subjects

  • English
  • Maths
  • Geography

You will also need

  • A driving licence will be essential for some jobs. 
  • You may need your own car, van, motorcycle or bicycle.
  • You may need to pass a Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Disclosure check for some jobs.

Helpful to have

Qualifications and experience that demonstrate employability skills such as good time keeping and physical fitness.