CHOOSING A CAREER / SEP. 16, 2014
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How to Become a Forklift Engineering Technician

Forklift engineering technicians service, monitor and maintain forklifts and other heavy machines used in the construction and warehousing industries. They ensure the forklifts work smoothly and safely. If you have an interest in engineering technology and good practical skills, this could be the career for you.

The Work

The day-to-day activities of forklift engineering technicians include:

  • Establishing mobile workshops on working sites
  • Using tools such as telescopic handlers, counterbalance trucks and side loaders to diagnose and fix mechanical faults
  • Replacing worn out and faulty parts in the machines
  • Testing the lifts and other machines before they are used
  • Conducting annual safety checks on the equipment as required by law.

Work Environment

Forklift engineering technicians work 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday. This could include overtime and shift work.

Although they are typically based in their workshops, they spend much of their time in client sites.

Salary

The salary for forklift engineering technicians depends on their experience as shown below:

Level of experience

 

Annual pay

Newly qualified technicians

 

£18,000 - £22,000

Experienced technicians

 

Up to £28,000

Source: National Careers Service

Entry Requirements

There are two ways to become a forklift engineering technician:

You can complete a Vehicle Maintenance and Repair Apprenticeship. To become an apprentice, you will need at least four GCSEs (A-C) in math, English, science, design and technology.

Alternatively, you could get started by completing any of the following college courses;

  • Level 1 Certificate in Plant Maintenance
  • Level 1 Diploma in Heavy Vehicle Maintenance
  • Level 2 Diploma in Plant Maintenance
  • Level 2 Diploma in Heavy Vehicle Maintenance and Repair.

Technicians with previous experience in large vehicle service and repair are better-placed to find employment.

Important Skills and Abilities

To become a successful forklift engineering technician, you need:

  • Good practical and problem-solving skills
  • Vast knowledge in engineering technology
  • Good IT skills
  • Excellent communication and negotiation skills
  • A reasonable level of physical fitness
  • An awareness of occupational health and safety issues.

Training and Development

Once you get a job, your employer will provide on-the-job training mostly covering the practical aspect of your job. After the training, it is advisable to pursue a Level 3 qualification in any of these fields;

  • Engineering maintenance
  • Electrical, mechanical and hydraulic components
  • Fuel, power and ignition systems
  • Forklift inspection.

You will also need to take the Thorough Examination, which is administered by Consolidated Fork Truck Services. Without a valid report of Thorough Examination, it is illegal to work on forklift trucks. The law requires technicians and engineers to take this examination every twelve months.

Lastly, if you wish to work on construction sites, you will need to obtain a Construction Plant Competence Scheme card to prove that you are qualified and able to perform your duties safely.

Job Opportunities

As a qualified forklift engineering technician, you will be employed by;

  • Construction companies
  • Distribution centers
  • Providers of freight and cargo services.

With experience, you could progress to positions such as parts and service manager or start your own forklift servicing and maintenance company.

For more information on this career and potential job openings, visit:

So, what are the current numbers? According to the FLTA, there are about 500,000 truck in use in the UK on a daily basis. These trucks need to be inspected and serviced. More forklift engineering technicians will be needed to do this. Your task, therefore, is to focus on obtaining the required qualifications.

 

Image Source: Meelift

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