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What Are the Different Types of Forklift Training?

There is a common misconception regarding forklift licenses and the corresponding training. Many people presume the process of receiving a forklift license is similar to receiving a driving license — everyone takes a standardised test and, once passed, receives a shiny new license that allows them to drive any car (with a few exceptions) anywhere in the country.

Forklift safety

The truth is, forklift licenses don’t really exist. Not physical licenses anyway. Instead, you will receive a physical certificate upon completing a training course. If your employer deems this certification to be sufficient enough to operate the forklift safely and properly, they will grant you a license. As it is the employers right to issue licenses, what one employer may deem sufficient may not be mirrored by another employer. Thus, licenses are not necessarily permanent, but the certificate from your training is.

This system is a result of the various types of forklift training available. Each type of forklift truck requires its own training course, and each of these courses are offered at various levels and by numerous accrediting bodies. This article is going to explain about the different types of forklift training, including the various levels and accrediting bodies, to help you find the course most suitable for your needs.

Forklift truck training

Firstly, a different training course is required for each type of forklift you wish to operate. Completing your training and receiving your certification will only enable you to drive that specific forklift truck — any additional trucks will require you to take an entirely new course.

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The following types of forklift will require separate training courses:

  • Industrial Reach Forklift Truck
  • Telescopic Handler Forklift
  • Rough Terrain Forklift
  • Pedestrian Operated Pallet Trucks
  • Industrial Side Loader Forklifts
  • Industrial Counterbalance Forklifts

Level training

Secondly, training for each of these forklift trucks can be taken at different levels. In the UK, there are four different types of forklift training skill categories. These are as follows:

  • Novice training – This is for those who have no prior knowledge operating forklift trucks. This training is usually the lengthiest of the four types, due to having to cover all the basics. The typical novice training course lasts between four and five days, but can vary depending on the size of the class.
  • Conversion training – This is for those who have experience with some type of forklift truck but wish to advance into other types. The very basics of forklift driving and safety that apply to all forklifts will not need to be covered as much in this training course, making it slightly quicker than novice training. Rather, training will focus on the unique features and operational controls of that specific truck.
  • Semi-experience operator training – A slightly rare form of training, this is useful for those who have learnt to drive forklifts elsewhere, such as in a garden or other private property, but don’t have formal training. This will provide them with the necessary certifications to be able to use forklifts legally in their job.
  • Refresher training – This is for people who have already completed their training but wish to brush up on their skills or get up to speed with changing industry regulations. Refresher training is not mandatory but it is heavily recommended to undergo every three years at the very least. If you choose not to undergo refresher training every three years and you are involved in an accident you may be deemed to be negligent.

Accrediting bodies

In addition to the various types of forklift training and levels, there are also separate accrediting bodies. In the UK, there are 5 forklift training accrediting bodies. These are:

  • Road Transport Industry Training Board (RTITB)
  • Independent Training Standards Scheme and Register (ITSSAR)
  • Construction Industry Training Board (CITB)
  • Lantra National Training Organisation Ltd. (LANTRA)
  • National Plant Operators Registration Scheme (NPORS)

The body you get accredited by may affect the weight of your certification. RTITB and ITSSAR bodies are held in higher regard, meaning you may find it easier to obtain a license after completing RTITB or ITSSAR training courses.

Here at East Midlands Forklifts, we provide comprehensive forklift training for a variety of trucks and at various levels. All our instructors are ITSSAR accredited and we serve the entirety of East Midlands. If you’re interested in receiving forklift training to bolster to general skills and job prospects, give us a call today.


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