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How do you become a reach truck driver?

Keen to develop your construction and warehousing career?

Why not consider becoming a qualified reach truck driver? To help you decide whether this is the right route for you, we outline the essential qualifications and degree of reach truck forklift training every reach truck driver should possess before applying for one of these positions.

Below, we also explore whether a reach truck licence is necessary for forklift operators.

What is a reach truck?

Most found in warehouses, a reach truck is a type of electric lifting truck that’s well-suited to navigating narrow aisles thanks to its slim size and manoeuverability.

They have a high lift, with D1 reach trucks capable of lifting up to 8m while D2s boast an ability to go even higher (often up to 12.5m). With a typical maximum lifting capacity of 2000kg, they are ideal for use in warehouses and other narrow aisle applications.

Smaller than a forklift, reach trucks are known for their smaller chassis and ability to nimbly move goods and materials.

Constructed to have two outer legs that prove sought-after stability and a single set of back wheels located just below the operator’s seat, these machines can make tight turns with ease.

Do you need a reach truck licence?

Put simply, no, you do not need a reach truck licence or even a driving licence to operate a reach truck – that is because there is no such thing as a forklift or reach truck licence.

Often, this term refers to an individual that has passed the appropriate training course.

Regardless of how frequently, or infrequently, an individual is required to operate a reach truck, they must still have completed the essential basic training.

Do you need to take a reach truck course?

Yes, those wanting to operate a reach truck will need to take a reach truck training course to demonstrate that they can operate this machinery safely and effectively.

In order to take one of these necessary courses, the individual must meet key Health and Safety Executive (HSE) requirements including possessing basic numeracy skills and the ability to speak, read and write English at a level that allows them to complete the required training.

HSE guidelines also state that the potential reach truck driver must be of reasonable physical fitness and of MSLA (minimum school-leaving age) which is typically 18.

An individual wanting to take a reach truck course must also determine which one is appropriate for them because there are several types: novice operator, experienced operator, conversion, and refresher.

As the name suggests, novice courses often last five days and are designed for those with little or no reach truck experience, while experienced courses are ideal for those who have worked previously with reach trucks but have never completed formal training courses and tests.

Conversion courses, suitable for individuals who are qualified to drive one truck but need to learn how to operate another, and refresher re-tests (qualified reach truck drivers that need to update their knowledge and skills to meet current HSE guidelines) can take anywhere between one to three days to complete.

Upon successfully completing the relevant course, you will be able to apply for reach truck driver vacancies.

Reach truck training at SB Skills Solutions

At SB Skills Solutions, we provide a selection of reach truck training courses that are fully accredited by NPORS or are held in-house.

With a helping hand from the experienced and qualified team of professional instructors and examiners at SB Skills Solutions, you could add sought-after skills to your CV or open up a whole new pool of career possibilities.

Speak to SB Skills Solutions today!

To find out more about the forklift truck training courses at SB Skills Solutions, feel free to reach out to a member of our team today.

You can either speak directly to a staff member by calling us on 01695 558 420 or get in contact via our email address (

Alternatively, we also have an online contact page where you can easily submit your enquiry at any time.

Once received, we’ll ensure we get back to you soon to help answer any reach truck course queries you might have or book your place on one of the training courses.

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