Forklift truck operator

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 load and unload goods and deliveries. You’d move them to and from storage areas in a warehouse or depot.

You’d need to be safety-conscious and responsible when using the forklifts and other trucks.

It would be important to be able to judge weights, distances and heights and have the physical co-ordination to operate the truck. There may be busy times when you have to work quickly.

You would:

  • Load and unload goods from vehicles such as lorries or aircraft
  • Move goods packed on pallets or in crates around the storage facility
  • Stack goods in the correct storage bays, following stock control instructions
  • Check loads are secure
  • Stack empty pallets
  • Do daily equipment checks, for example recharging the truck's battery
  • Help to load and unload trucks by hand where necessary
  • Perform other warehouse tasks like packing

You'd need to be able to follow written instructions and keep records.

You could work with various machines including counter-balance trucks, telescopic handlers, side-loading trucks and pedestrian-controlled pallet lifting equipment.

Working conditions


You would normally work between 37 and 42 hours a week. Shiftwork, including nights, is common and overtime is often available.

UK employment status



Self employed

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

  • Following instructions
  • Communicating ideas through writing
  • Accuracy
  • Working with your hands
  • Being physically fit
  • Solving mathematical problems

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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.


There are no formal qualifications to get into this job but most employers value a good general education.

To become a forklift truck operator most employers will ask that you complete a training course, usually on the job, to show that you can operate the forklift safely.

Many of these courses will require good maths skills to help you work out weights and distances.

Useful subjects

  • English
  • Maths
  • Technologies subjects, such as practical electronics

Helpful to have

Relevant work-based qualifications such as a Scottish Vocational Qualification in Warehousing and Storage (SVQ level 2/3) or be willing to work towards qualifications once in a job.