Ageing forklift workforce a problem

News Story
- 18 May 2006 ( #260 ) - ALTON, United Kingdom
3 min read
The FLTA brochure.
The FLTA brochure.
The Fork Lift Truck Association (FLTA) has released a dedicated website and an attractive brochure as part of a collaboration with a UK college to make forklift engineering appealing to career-opting teenagers.

FLTA chief David Ellison said the ageing UK forklift engineering workforce was a serious problem for the industry.

"I urge all employers to count how many of their engineers are in their 40s and 50s and take steps today to ensure there are enough trainees coming through to fill that gap."

In March, the FLTA said it was working with the City of Bristol College to introduce forklift engineering apprenticeship courses by September (Forkliftaction.com News #253).

The program is managed on FLTA's behalf by the college, which runs similar schemes for Porsche, British Telecom and Royal Mail. Through a three-year course, apprentices earn a wage as they assist engineers and attend four two-week blocks of college training annually. The apprentices take on full duties at the end of the course.

TIE (Northern) Ltd's Tony Wallis.
TIE (Northern) Ltd's Tony Wallis.
Tony Wallis, managing director of Toyota Industrial Equipment's (TIE) only UK regional distributor, TIE (Northern) Ltd, said he was encouraged by the FLTA initiative.

"The average age of our team and other forklift businesses appears to be in the 35-to-45-year age group. This indicates that, with low apprentice intakes over recent years and maturing engineers, the problem will only increase."

Wallis said the shortage of engineers created "substantial costs" for businesses as companies competed to recruit from a dwindling pool of talent. However TIE (Northern) Ltd was doing its part to combat the problem.

"We use facilities at Hinckley which will be affiliated to the Bristol scheme. Over the last three years, we have actively promoted apprenticeships and young person schemes with eight of our team now on various programs.

"We introduced a lump-sum payment scheme for apprentice engineers that matures when they are 23. This is substantial enough to retain them and encourage loyalty after they have completed their training," he said.

Wallis said the biggest challenge was ensuring young people could enter the industry and identify long-term career opportunities.

The FLTA is aware of that and is presenting forklift engineering as an exciting, rewarding career.

A full-colour, snazzy brochure, targeted at 16-to-19 year olds, compares forklift and automotive engineering.

"Once trained as a forklift engineer, you will be an expert in electrical and hydraulic systems, diesel and gas powered engines and much more. Like today's automotive industry, it's no longer spanners and oily rags either. Forklift engineers regularly use laptop or palmtop computers to diagnose problems or fine-tune forklift truck performance.

"[But,] unlike a car, most forklift servicing is done on-site, which means engineers typically spend much of their day on the road taking a mobile workshop to the customer."


Ellison said the FLTA would assist companies seeking apprentices.

"Our research shows home-grown recruits tend to give many more years of service than expensive, ready-trained staff poached from another employer," he said.

The City of Bristol College will oversee administration of the program, including recruitment, funding, assessments, learning support and pastoral care. The apprentices' workplace learning is monitored by the college's national network of field-based assessors, supported by residential training at various locations.

To download a brochure or application form for the program, go to www.forktruckapprentice.org.uk.
Lifting apprenticeships 
Lifting apprenticeships  27 Jan 2022 - London, United Kingdom - 1 min read
Talent shortage challenges firm
Talent shortage challenges firm 4 Dec 2014 - Douglassville, PA, United States - 2 min read
Associations join forces for national scheme
Associations join forces for national scheme 27 Mar 2014 - London, United Kingdom - 1 min read
Previously about:
COVID-19 impact: UK News Story - 26 Mar 2020 - United Kingdom - 3 min read
AITT and FLTA form alliance News Story - 1 Aug 2019 - Hugglescote, United Kingdom - 2 min read
Movers & shakers News Story - 21 Feb 2019 - 2 min read
Toyota adds to heavy-duty forklift line  News Story - 24 Nov 2016 - Columbus, IN, United States - 1 min read
Toyota adds three products News Story - 1 Oct 2015 - Columbus, IN, United States - 1 min read
CalAmp powers Toyota VMS News Story - 3 Sep 2015 - Oxnard, CA, United States - 1 min read
Do you have materials handling news? Submit your news here

PREMIUM business

Cascade Corporation (World HQ)
Leading manufacturers of attachments, forks and related technologies for forklifts and AGVs.

CeMAT Southeast Asia is coming to Singapore EXPO, Singapore on May 15-17, 2024. Register for free and experience the leading global trade show for intralogistics, materials handling and supply chain management.

Be sure to also register for LogiSYM Asia Pacific and LogiSYM Cold Chain 2024 to experience a conference schedule packed with experts and decision-makers from your industry.

Register Now! 

Words of support …

I know I can count on them. They give valuable suggestions on the campaign planning, and to publish content is as easy as abc, as they take care of the material layout and check links. This is a great support.

Annalisa Castellini, Marketing Manager - Bolzoni S.p.A.

Are you recruiting? Find your ideal candidate among a diverse range of materials handling professionals:

Forkliftaction's JOB MARKET

With LogiMAT 2024 wrapped up, Forkliftaction is the place to catch up on all the highlights and product news from the show.

See the exhibitor highlights in our LogiMAT gallery,

Read our exclusive three-part LogiMAT 2024 coverage:
- Safety front of mind at LogiMAT
- Many paths to automation at Logimat
- Lower emissions a major focus at LogiMAT 

PREMIUM business

Combilift Ltd
Manufactures world class 4-way Handling Solutions

Are you recruiting? Find your ideal candidate among a diverse range of materials handling professionals:

Forkliftaction's JOB MARKET

“I really enjoy your newsletter and share the articles with all my training team for industry currency. I also print and display specific articles on forklift safety and accidents on our notice board for all the learners who attend our training courses to read...”

Gavin Trim - CEO, High Risk Work Licence Assessor, Mechanical Handling Equipment Specialist - Nationwide Training

Thanks Gavin for sharing your experience with Forkliftaction