RTITB believes digitalisation could be the key to tackling the national skills shortage, having found a solution that gets forklift operators into warehouse and logistics operations faster, reducing lost days by 88.7%.
“Availability of materials handling equipment operators is crucial to keeping supply chain organisations running, but we hear daily that many warehouse and logistics operations are encountering a shortage of correctly trained and qualified staff,” says Laura Nelson, Managing Director for RTITB, the leading accrediting body for workplace transport training.
“The industry is trying to train staff to fill these gaps fast, but one big issue has been that when lift truck operator training has been successfully completed, the candidate can be waiting for up to 10 days to receive their certificate – that’s a potential 10 days that the skilled, trained operator is unable to work,” she continues.
For context, between 1st August and 30th November 2021, the materials handling equipment operator training delivered by RTITB accredited organisations resulted in 26,286 certificates issued. If each of those operators has to wait 10 working days to receive their certificate, this would equate to a possible 262,860 lost working days.
To tackle this issue, RTITB is championing digitalisation in lift truck training, and recently introduced an eCard to replace traditional forklift operator training certificates. With an eCard, candidates trained by RTITB accredited organisations can receive their Operator ID and certificate online, in as little as 4.5 hours, 7 days a week. This online solution, available only from RTITB, enables lift truck operators to start work sooner, without any compromise on training standards or safety.
The digital eCard, which operators can receive in their Apple or Android smartphone wallet or as a PDF, shows employers that an operator has received the required training and obtained the necessary qualification to support safe operating practices. Once an operator has been issued with their RTITB eCard, any subsequent new or updated qualifications will be added to their card. The eCard offers the added benefits of being environmentally friendly and a lower cost than a physical ID card.
“We are keen to do all we can to support the supply chain during the ongoing skills shortage,” says Laura Nelson. “Embracing digitalisation to update and streamline some of the long-standing processes that exist in our industry is one way that we are helping to quickly get skilled workers out onto the ‘shopfloor’ to carry out vital roles.”
The introduction of the operator eCard follows other digital innovations from RTITB that aim to get operators into roles faster, while saving Instructors and organisations time. These include the MyRTITB TrainingFriend app, which makes lift truck operator testing 100% paperless and reduces training administration time. RTITB has also launched a range of eLearning courses to deliver compliant forklift, plant, and LGV banksman theory training completely online, helping reduce training backlogs.