Forklift training history

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History of the forklift training industry in the UK


This complete history of forklift operator training in the United Kingdom was written by the man who started it all and was responsible for the creation of the training syllabus and test. His name is John, (Dai), Carter, whom I have known for more than 40 years. He has supplied me with, and given me permission to add, this complete history of forklift training to this website. Apart from grammatical changes, the following is in John's own words and is about a 30 minute read. I have added the odd comment where I thought it might be useful and these are in brackets.

By John Carter.

The following pages explain how I became the founder member of an entirely new industry called Fork Truck Training and created standards that are still in regular use over half a century later. It was not planned, it just happened.

We have to go back to the 1960’s when the Government realised that we were falling behind in just about every industry and our economy was suffering. An enquiry commissioned by the Government indicated that the cause was a severe lack of training. Except for traditional apprenticeships, no one was bothering to train employees.

The result was the creation of the 1964 Industrial Training Act, which briefly said that any employer employing 5 or more employees would pay a levy (tax) per head of employees, to an Industrial Training Board and could only recover that levy in the form of a grant  by proving that they were providing their employees with training that met the standards dictated by their individual training board and approved by the Ministry of Labour.

So this ministry under the leadership of the Labour MP, Barbara Castle started setting up Industrial Training Boards and appointing each training board’s directors. Obviously it took time as eventually 27 industrial training boards were set up. Each training board was responsible for creating training standards for the industry they represented, together with a model of the facilities required to provide those standards and to create monitoring of those standards to ensure employers received value for money. Those industries such as Engineering, Chemicals and Construction who had traditional apprenticeship schemes were the first to be set up and the rest followed over the next four years. It was a huge undertaking.

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