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What Do You Need to Drive a Forklift Truck in the UK?

Want to drive a forklift truck? You’ve come to the right page. Here we look at some of the requirements and what you’ll need to do to get forklift certification.

At TTA we work with hundreds of students every year who want to pass forklift certification. Some come on their own, as they want to further their own skills and gain the right certificates to get work. Others come to us from established business, to engage in continuing training as part of their job. All of them there is one goal, to maintain a working knowledge of one of the most used warehouse vehicles in the world. But a vehicle that also happens to be one of the most dangerous, if not driven correctly with the right training and safety awareness.

On average, somebody is killed every 6 weeks in the UK by a forklift truck. Many of these accidents are preventable with better training and safety awareness.

At the Transport Training Academy our forklift specialists work with students every day to help them gain certification and safety awareness. We’ve put this short guide together to give prospective forklift students and idea of the information they will need. But we are always happy to provide any additional information for you. And if, after reading this, you decide that forklift training is for you, you can also contact us to get more information about signing up for classes.

We are ready to help you get your forklift certificate as soon as you are ready to get started.

What are the legal requirements for driving a forklift?

The reality is that there are very few legal requirements to train for a job as a forklift operator. However, certain requirements do exist and are designed for your safety and the safety of those around you in the workplace.  The National Career Service gives detailed information, but you must be at least 16 years old to begin forklift training as that is the minimum age for operating the equipment. In the case or ports or docks you must be 18.

The law also requires that forklift operators should be in reasonably good health. The law doesn’t go into any details on what “good health” means. But we suggest that to operate a forklift you need to be free from any major diseases, and from any other physical condition that might impair or impede your ability to operate a forklift safely.

At the end of the day, it is your employer’s responsibility to monitor the health of forklift operators.

At TTA, we do not require a health exam to begin your training for a forklift certificate. However, we do make our students aware that employers may require you to undergo basic health screening before being hired to drive a lift truck.

How long does training take?

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 for new operators with no previous forklift experience, is a full, five-day course. This course culminates with a certification exam. Once passed the student is awarded with a forklift certificate from the Independent Training Standards Scheme and Register (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.

What will you learn?

The fact that we train novices to become experienced operators in just five days doesn’t mean that we don’t cover much ground. The high-quality training delivered by TTA is designed to give you the best opportunity to learn in the best environment with the best trainers, so that you can put your new skills into practice straight away.

We teach everything you need to know to be a successful forklift operator.  But our courses are roughly divided into the following categories:

Forklift Theory

Understanding how and what forklift trucks are designed for is an important part of learning how to use them to their best advantage. We teach our student operators:-

  • Forklift design and hydraulic systems
  • The mechanics of how forklifts actually work,
  • Weight assessment and transporting heavy loads safely
  • The theory of driving

Practical Skills

Theory is fine, but you have to be able to put it into practice. We teach new operators the practical aspects of operating a forklift safely and proficiently. This means hands-on training from expert instructors that enable you to operate a forklift in real-life working environment. This includes aspects such as:-

  • Loading/unloading of vehicles
  • Daily checks
  • Manoeuvring exercises
  • Driving on/off ramps
  • Corrective driving

Forklift Safety

As we mentioned earlier, lift trucks are dangerous pieces of equipment when handled badly. All our forklift certificate training includes a safety training to addresses things such as:-

  • Equipment inspections
  • Safety codes of practice and identifying and avoiding hazards
  • Health and safety at work and protecting pedestrian traffic.
  • Load handling and Safe operating procedures

Do you have to train with an Accredited Body – ie. Someone like TTA?

There is no legal requirement for forklift drivers to be certified. So you can receive in-house training from your employer. However, most employers prefer to hire forklift operators who have already been trained and certified. They want a worker who is ready to get started straight away on day one, rather than having to undergo training first.

To make sure there is a form of certified training, the government has approved six different accrediting bodies. These have developed standardised training programmes ensuring that every lift truck operator can demonstrate basic proficiency and competence.  

We are associated with ITSSAR who are one of the most respected bodies in the UK. All our training programmes are accredited by them, which means that our training meets industry-wide standards in every respect.

Anyone who pssses through the Transport Teaining Academy will be competent in their chosen field, and in the best place possible to gain future employment.

Want to investigate further?

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.

Click HERE to see how we can help make it happen for you.

Celebrate TTA's Latest success stories...

Aaron Cochran


Well Done to Aaron Cochran for passing his CAT C with us on 21st February 2020. Congratulations from all at #TTA

Ryan Talbot


Well Done to Ryan Talbot for passing his B+E with us on 21st February 2020. Congratulations from all at #TTA

Christopher Murnaghan

Transport Manager CPC

Well Done to Christopher Murnaghan for passing his Transport Manager CPC with us in February 2020. Congratulations from all at #TTA

Andrew Meanley


Well Done to Andrew Meanley for passing his CAT C with us on 14th February 2020. Congratulations from all at #TTA

Paul Donoghue


Well Done to Paul Donoghue for passing his C+E with us on 14th February 2020. Congratulations from all at #TTA

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