Not a lot of kids dream about becoming a forklift operator when they grow up. However, if you want to get your foot in the door of construction, manufacturing, and even the food industry, you can start with this profession and work your way up.
A forklift operator drives a powered industrial truck to lift and transport materials from one point to another. They are considered professional drivers and have to obtain a Masterdrive Forklift Operator Cert as well as a higher-level driver’s license.
If you’re thinking about following this career path, below are the five job options that you have after becoming a forklift operator.
A foreman is defined as someone who leads a group of workers for a particular project. The role is typically associated with construction. They are the point of contact between the workers and higher management since the latter isn’t always on the field.
Their primary duties are to coordinate and delegate tasks for each workday, make the workers’ schedules, control the budget for the project, and, generally, oversee the site.
To become a foreman, you must have at least four years of experience in construction. Starting as a forklift operator can help you apply for this position, and the technical skills that you learned from Master Drive can be an advantage against others who are competing for the same job.
2. Forklift Technician
Similar to driving a car, you may have done a few minor fixes on your forklift as someone who primarily operates it. You can build on this knowledge to become a forklift technician.
A forklift technician checks and services forklifts as well as other large industrial vehicles. Aside from that, you are also required to maintain tools, communicate with suppliers, manage inventory, and learn how to use computer-based diagnostics for various equipment.
As a technician, you have to stay updated with technological developments to gain relevant knowledge of the industry. For instance, some companies are already using autonomous forklifts to minimize the risk to human drivers. Other skills you must have are physical strength, dexterity, as well as strong critical thinking and analyzing skills.
The duties of a forklift operator encompass more than driving a heavy industrial vehicle. You’re also in charge of preparing the products for safe transport and shipping, inspecting incoming and outgoing shipments, and keeping track of inventory.
These skills prepare you to become someone who can oversee the entire operations on the ground. With this, you can eventually become a shipping, receiving, warehouse, or distribution supervisor.
As a supervisor, you’ll be overseeing the work of the people in your team, especially their performance. You’ll be handling a more significant scope than when you were a forklift operator, where you just focused on your job responsibilities.
A manager has more power than a supervisor. If the latter’s top priority is the performance of people in the team, the former looks beyond the group and checks the things that can be improved within to benefit the entire organisation.
As a manager, you’ll also be responsible for plotting the use of resources, like the workforce, finances, and the time it takes to complete the project. Moreover, you have the power to hire, promote, or terminate employees according to the standards set by the company, while a supervisor can only recommend it.
You can become a site, service, area, and even operations manager after working for several years in your industry.
5. Business Owner
Lastly, after gaining the necessary knowledge about construction or manufacturing through your stint as a forklift operator, you can take the leap and start your own business. With your technical skills, the best enterprise you can build is selling forklifts and other heavy industrial equipment.
After all, you already have the technical skill of driving them, so you can easily answer potential clients’ inquiries about your products and services. You can also rent out warehouses and provide transport services, where the knowledge and experience you gained as an operator can be an advantage.
Excellent stepping stone
Becoming a forklift operator is not a mainstream ambition for most people. However, it’s an excellent stepping stone if you want to become a business owner, manager, supervisor, or technician, especially in the construction, manufacturing, and shipping industries.
To succeed as a forklift operator, you’ll need to complete a course on how to drive the machine and other related knowledge. You also must have a higher-level driver’s license so that you can work legally as one.
Aside from technical skills, you must be physically strong and nimble. Plus, you should have strong critical thinking and analyzing skills as well as stay updated with technological developments in the industry.