Forklift Training: everything you need to know

Any warehouse manager worth their salt won’t allow you anywhere near a forklift truck unless you’ve passed a forklift training course. And with good reason too. Forklifts are a heavy piece of machinery, and if operated incorrectly they can cause life-changing – or even fatal – injuries to people working in their vicinity. This is rare, but it does happen. On a less extreme - but still important – note, forklift accidents can cause significant damage to physical goods, at a financial cost to the warehouse’s owner.

So if you want to operate a forklift, you need to do your training. Even if you’re already a seasoned operator, a new employer may ask you to undertake some training to brush up on your skills.

Read on for everything you need to know before you embark on a forklift training course.


Find out what kind of course is for you


Fofklift training isn’t a one size fits all approach; there’s many solutions that are suitable for different people. The most common is beginners’ training. As the name suggests, this is for  people who’ve never operated a forklift – or any kind of heavy machinery – before. This is an intensive course that will take you through all of the practical and theoretical things you need to know to become a professional forklift operator.

If you have experience operating a forklift, but never went through any formal training, your employer may ask you to undertake untested training. This primarily focuses on health and safety.

If you’re a seasoned operator, but either yourself or your employer has decided you need a brush up, you’ll need to receive refresher training. This is an intensive course taking place over a short period of time, intended to make sure you’re not too rusty on your forklift skills.

If you’ve operated heavy machinery before – but never a forklift - you’ll have to undertake conversion training. This is an intensive course that takes place over a few days, ensuring that you’re fully aware of the differences between the machinery you’re used to and a forklift. It also ensures that you have the practical skills necessary to load and operate a forklift.


How long will it take?


This depends entirely on the type of training course you’re on, as well as the learning provider training you. If you’re on a beginner’s course, you may have to give up a working week (5 days) of your time. This is to ensure that you’re fully up to speed on practical operation, health and safety, and loading techniques.

If you’re going on an untested training, or conversion training course, it will take slightly less time, as you are not a complete beginner. You should expect to spend 2-3 days doing your course.

If you’re just in for a refresher course, it’s likely that you’ll be in and out in a day.


What will it entail?


A beginners’ course will typically consist of four strands; health and safety, inspecting and maintaining your truck, theory test, and practical skills. You’ll be expected to pass the theory test, as well as a practical assessment. Once you’ve completed both of these, you’ll have passed the training course, becoming a fully licensed forklift operator in the process.

A refresher training course will cover all of the above, but in a much quicker fashion.

Untested training will primarily consist of health and safety training, with a bit of practical training thrown in. The aim of the trainers is to ensure that a previously untrained operator is operating their forklift safely and efficiently.

A conversion training course focuses more on the practical side of things, ensuring that learners have applied their transferable skills to forklift operation by the time the course is over.


How much does it cost?


It can vary wildly, depending on the course, and the learning provider. However, in general you’re going to be looking at a cost of between £100 and £750. If you’re keen to undertake any kind of forklift training, it is worth asking your employer if they’ll fund you. After all, by learning new skills you’re making yourself more valuable to your employer and – vitally – making your working environment safer.

Seeing as they’re the longest, beginners’ courses are likely to cost you the most, probably between £600-750. Untested and conversion training is likely to cost you between £100-300, while a refresher course will cost you £100-200.



Where can I train?


Hitec offer top-quality training courses for people of all skill levels, from our HQ in Northamptonshire. We offer such a good service that we think it’s worth travelling for. Give us a call on 01933 228 127 to find out how we can help.

If you can’t make the journey, contact your local learning provider – such as a college – to find out how you can get trained up in your local area.


HITEC specialises in hire and sales of materials handling vehicles, including forklift trucks. Get In Touch to discuss how we can help you with your material handling needs.

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