Trades & Services

Forklift Operator

Forklift operators drive forklifts to shift and stack bales, cartons, containers, crates and pallets of goods.

  • Entry-level education

    Junior secondary school certificate or equivalent

  • Job outlook

    1 2 3 4 5

What does a Forklift Operator do?

Forklift operators drive forklifts to shift and stack bales, cartons, containers, crates and pallets of goods in areas such as timber yards and warehouses. They may also move shipping containers on the waterfront.


Work activities

Forklift operators may perform the following tasks:

  • use forklift vehicles to lift, stack and move articles and materials
  • move goods to correct processing or dispatch areas in warehouses or factories
  • load transport vehicles evenly and securely
  • service and make minor adjustments to the forklift
  • keep a record of daily operations.

Key skills and interests

To become a forklift operator, you would need:

  • the ability to work quickly, especially during busy periods
  • good physical coordination to operate a forklift
  • the ability to assess weights and judge distances and heights
  • the ability to follow written instructions and keep records
  • good health and safety awareness.

Working hours and conditions

Working Hours

You would normally work a standard number of hours. Shiftwork, including nights, is common and overtime is often available.


You would work mainly indoors in a warehouse or factory setting, or outdoors in a yard, port or airport..


How to become an Forklift Operator?

Entry Level Education

Forklift operators have to obtain a High Risk Work Licence. To apply for a licence, you must be at least 18 years of age, can use English at a level that enables the safe performance of high risk work, have completed a recognised course with a Registered Training Organisation (RTO), and have been assessed as competent by an assessor working for the RTO.

The relevant Government workcover / worksafe organisation in your State will provide further information.


Job outlook

  • 1 2 3 4 5

Overall employment of forklift operators is projected to increase slightly.

However, the increasing use of technology to move goods in distribution centres, warehouses and on the waterfront is expected to lead to a longer term decline in overall opportunities.


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