This is a story about my journey to take a forklift training course and how it affected the rest of my professional career.
Being a teenager, I feel like I have a sense of invincibility to most matters. Basically, I fear very few things in life and love to challenge myself.
It’s my last year of high school and I really want to dabble in the trades to see how I enjoy them. Also, to see if I am even equipped to be successful in the field. With the bonus of co-op education, I may even get my foot in the door to the company I spend that portion of the day with.
I applied for co-op in the local factory just near my hometown in Scotland in Brant County. I knew a couple of my older friends who have jobs there as well, so that made applying even more of a breeze.
It was surprising to me during my interview when I was asked to do certain types training. The most shocking was that there would be a forklift training course. I don’t even have my driver’s license… This was going to be a whole new experience for me. What if I suck at learning how to use a forklift?
Preparing For Forklift Training in Ontario
When I told my parents about the forklift training course that I was about to endure they were also shocked. I am 17 and should be at least starting my driver’s training. My parents liked driving me everywhere and think of it as “quality time”. I, however, see it as no escape from awkward conversation time.
After we discussed the forklift training that I was going to be doing, my parents and I had a long conversation about me taking my G1 test. If I was going to be learning to drive, I should start with learning all the important things and practise.
Little did I know that Brant County didn’t have a driver’s test location. My mom drove me to Norfolk County, and I aced that test!
My mom was super cool and let me practise driving around in an abandoned parking lot. She wanted me to be confident with the pedals and the steering before I had to start forklift driving. Apparently, I could create some real bad habits.
Co-op started in 2 weeks; forklift training was going to be one day in the first week. Just 1 day! I was pretty stoked it was a quick certification, like ripping off a Band-Aid. I’m either made for it or not.
My days consisted of driving to and from school every day with my mom and little extra sessions of training on the weekends. I was feeling uber confident with myself by this point.
Forklift Training Day
By the time it was my first week at co-op I was ready for the forklift training course. No more insecure thoughts. I was going to rock this program.
The instructor was there with the classroom all set up for us. There were 10 of us training today. I didn’t know anyone with me, and they were all much older than I was. Probably wondering what the heck I was doing there.
We learned about the course outline first. The instructor was pretty laid back and engaging with everyone. We all introduced ourselves to lighten up the environment. A few old man jokes were tossed around the table of course.
There were many topics covered over the morning. Including –
- Different classes of forklift licences
- Travelling loaded and unloaded
- Ramps and inclines
- Load handling
- Fork masts
- Safe operating procedures
- Dock safety
- Pedestrian safety
It wasn’t overwhelming at all, and I think everyone enjoyed the learning in classroom experience. The instructor took time to dive into personal stories about each topic making it more memorable and enjoyable for us to learn.
After the morning classroom training we had to complete a written certification examination test. It was a quick test that quizzed our knowledge and absorption from the morning.
After we all had a nice lunch together, we moved to a different location. A warehouse with a big open hanger door to the yard.
The instructor let us know that this portion of the forklift training was going to be more about the skills hands on.
We started off with learning about doing –
- Control identifications
- Performing routine tasks
With pre-inspection everyone seemed confident. I was a bit uneasy feeling about having to quickly learn new mechanical gears and driving. The forklift looked intimidating. The thought of possibly tipping over a lift of expensive product made my stomach churn.
You see videos and reels all the time about forklift accidents. Whether its reversing off a ramp or uneven pickup tilt overs, all hilarious. But not when reality hits that it could be me in the next viral explosion.
Learning the controls took me a bit of time. They weren’t the same as the vehicle my mom was teaching me on. I really hope I don’t get them backwards when I’m driving.
The instructor was so patient with us, made sure we all felt confident. He wasn’t in a rush and made us all feel like he was genuinely there to teach and loved his job. It made for a great day.
When it came to my turn to try out the routine tasks, I dried my hands off on my pants and shook off the nerves. Why did everyone have to watch me attempt this. I had no issues watching them, so I guess I must just get over it.
I fired up the forklift and did all the routine around the warehouse flawlessly. He had us go up a ramp to grab a skid of product and put it on a truck. Then take it off and place it back in the stack of product skids. It was such a bumpy ride; I don’t get how the product doesn’t fly off the forks constantly.
By the end of the day we received temporary forklift training certificates, then would be re-evaluated after sufficient supervised training period.
I enjoyed the perk of learning through this forklift training course. I’d recommend trying as many different jobs as possible while you’re young to get all experience you can.
Ontario Forklift Training Course
Alternative Safety Solutions
Brant County, Ontario