what is a telehandler?

As a telehandler, you work with a specific type of machinery called telescopic handlers or telehandlers. The telescopic handlers, teleporters and boom lifts are used in construction and farming. Your job is to operate the equipment to move heavy loads in areas inaccessible to forklift trucks. Aside from operating the telehandlers, you assess the loads to ensure they are safe to lift. That means it is important to understand the loads, sizes and weights to ensure the telehandler is stable.

Telehandlers should understand how telescopic handlers work to perform maintenance. You also follow strict security regulations to ensure the safety of equipment and people on the construction site. The role requires spatial awareness since you move items in small spaces.

Would working as a telehandler suit your spatial awareness and calm demeanour? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a telehandler role.

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average telehandler salary

According to ONS, a telehandler earns a salary of £32,175 per year. With minimal experience, you can earn over £29,215 yearly. The most experienced telehandlers earn over £37,050 annually. The compensation package depends on various factors, including qualifications and experience level.

what factors affect the salary of a telehandler?

When you are a telehandler, your compensation depends on your qualifications. While telehandlers don’t require specific qualifications, training in construction and other machine operation courses increases your salary prospects. When you have extensive experience, you are likely to earn more than a new telehandler.

The industry you work in can also influence your earnings. For instance, when you work in construction or manufacturing, you are likely to earn more due to the complexity of tasks. Telehandlers in the warehouse industry earn a lower salary since they handle less complex roles.


types of telehandlers

Some of the types of telehandlers include:

  • telehandler operators: as a telehandler operator, you guide a telescopic handler to move items in construction sites through crammed-up spaces. You require knowledge of operating telehandlers with different attachments.
  • telehandler drivers: as a telehandler, you drive the trucks fitted with telescopic handlers. The telehandlers resemble a combination of forklifts and cranes that require precision and flexibility in transporting the items.

working as a telehandler

Working as a telehandler involves operating machines and boom lifts to hoist items in construction facilities. Here are some of the duties and responsibilities of a telehandler.


education and skills

Some of the routes to becoming a telehandler operator include:

  • college: to become a telehandler, complete a Level 2 award or certificate in forklift truck or machine operations. The training involves operating the equipment and maintaining telehandlers. Instead of completing the CPCS training, you can take the NPORS test to get a certificate for operating telehandlers. You also require a Construction Skills Certification Scheme card if you work on construction sites.
  • apprenticeship: you can become a telehandler through an apprenticeship programme with a warehouse, a manufacturing company or a building supplier. The apprenticeships are open to youths over 16 years, and you work 30 hours a week to gain on-the-job experience at the company.
  • work experience: you require experience to work as a telehandler. You can gain work experience by working weekends and holidays or interning at a construction site to familiarise yourself with the equipment.

telehandler skills and competencies

Some of the qualities of a telehandler operator include:

  • attention to detail: as a telehandler, being attentive to details helps you take extra care when moving materials or items. You observe the smallest details when moving items and notice subtle changes in the sounds of machines and other equipment. Your detail-oriented skills also help you adjust the equipment properly and ensure smooth operation.
  • critical thinking skills: as a telehandler, you rely on critical thinking to assess the outcome of actions before engaging them. For instance, you analyse the situation when moving items through a cramped space to avoid loss or equipment damage. Critical thinking improves your judgement and prevents unnecessary mistakes that could lead to additional problems.
  • active learning skills: as a telehandler, constantly learning helps improve your skill set. Ensure you participate in further training, take courses and read the instruction manual. When you seek continuous improvement, you learn how to operate new machines.
  • organisational skills: as a telehandler, you require organisation skills to complete tasks on time. When you organise your work, you provide accurate reports and ensure the maintenance of every work tool on the construction site.
  • problem-solving skills: it is common for problems to arise in the workplace, and you require problem-solving skills to navigate them. As a telehandler, you investigate problems with the equipment and find solutions.

FAQs about working as a telehandler

Here, you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the profession of a telehandler.

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