Trailblazers Standard

A new standard for apprentice training - created by the industry for the industry

With the support of BITA, the FLTA recently hosted the latest meeting of a working group formed to deliver the Forklift Engineer Trailblazer standard. 

The group – which is Co-Chaired by Howard Gunstock of Linde MH and Kevin Sowerby of Crown with strong support from the industry’s own training centre: F-TEC – is fully engaged with the IMI as the sector’s awarding body and is confident that this new standard will be accepted and operational in the near future.

Importantly, the standard is the result of industry-wide consultation and will deliver the scope, depth and quality of content that meets the true requirements of the fork lift truck industry.


Apprenticeship Standard for Lift Truck Engineering

Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship Standard

Occupation Profile - The lift truck engineer will work in a variety of different environments including warehouses, foundries, cold-stores, manufacturing plants as well as many others. Lift trucks are involved in the movement and storage of all types of products in different sectors including food manufacturing, engineering, construction, and storage & logistics industries. To meet customer expectations, many lift truck engineers work continental shift patterns 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Overview of Role - The lift truck engineer will be qualified in the maintenance, repair and diagnostics of a variety of lift trucks including; hand pallet trucks, electrical power pallet trucks, electric reach trucks, electric very narrow aisle & man-up warehouse lift trucks, electric, liquid petroleum gas (LPG) and diesel-powered counterbalance lift trucks. There are also lift trucks specially designed to meet specific applications.

The differing characteristics and wide variety of lift trucks utilised throughout industry demands that engineers are efficient, organised and highly skilled in order to help ensure that customers’ activities are not compromised and that equipment is maintained to a high standard.

The lift truck engineer will carry out a variety of electrical, mechanical and hydraulic engineering activities, responding to customer requirements in a highly proactive industry. Lift truck engineers must be dynamic in their approach and adapt to a range of working situations which may include major overhaul and repair centres, customer sites or field service environments, working across a defined geographical area. This requires the engineer to acquire a multitude of skills and technical knowledge whilst following safe working practices and maintaining environmental awareness. Maintenance and diagnostic capabilities to component level is required in electrical / electronic, mechanical and hydraulic engineering.

The lift truck engineer will have a high level of customer care and communication skills and conduct themselves in a professional manner. The engineer will have embedded skills including information technology (IT) to perform truck software up-dates and diagnostics using a truck’s on-board and/or plug-in computerised programmes.

Knowledge Overview - The lift truck engineer will have underpinning academic knowledge in electrical / electronics, mechanical and hydraulic principles to further enhance their theoretical and practical knowledge in all aspects of lift truck engineering. S/he will also follow health & safety policies, procedures and safe working practises. The lift truck engineer will have the necessary knowledge to:

  • Recognise and comply with company and customer polices, rules, safe working procedures when working in different environments.
  • Correctly identify tools and equipment required for each application within the lift truck profession.
  • Carry out fabrication techniques: Soldering / electric & gas welding, electrical, mechanical hydraulic connections & fixings. Identify metal composition, filing, hacksawing, drilling, thread tapping, grinding, and crack detection.
  • Correctly select and safely use mechanical, electric, and pneumatic tools, lubricants and specialist equipment.
  • Operate lift trucks for maintenance, testing and manoeuvring purposes.
  • Equip the engineer with advanced technical and engineering disciplines in electrical, electronic, mechanical and hydraulic components along with operation, repair and diagnostics procedures on all types of complex lift trucks
  • Access, interpret and apply information gained from manufacturers’ specifications and customers’ requirements.
  • Apply methodical and systematic techniques during logic fault-finding diagnosis and the verification of functionality and performances of complex lift trucks.
  • Interpret lift truck on-board diagnostics and truck communication systems as well as set up lift truck characteristics to meet customer specific requirements.

Skills overview – The lift truck engineer will demonstrate dexterity, work independently and as an effective team player – taking responsibility, accountability and ownership of his or her actions – and be an effective communicator.

The lift truck engineer will be able to competently demonstrate engineering activities, be resourceful and follow health & safety procedures when working on advanced complex lift trucks to include:

  • Safe jacking and blocking procedures; correctly selecting and using lifting and blocking equipment (toe / hydraulic jacks & blocks).
  • Use correct lifting equipment when removing heavy lift truck components (chains, slings, shackles) and follow working at height procedures in compliance with appropriate health & safety legislation.
  • Interpret lift truck electrical, mechanical and hydraulic schematic diagrams, flow charts and manufacturers’ technical data to verify correct systems functionality.
  • Perform, to a high standard, detailed preventative maintenance activities on complex trucks in compliance with manufactures’ specifications.
  • Demonstrate competence on electrical/electronic, mechanical and hydraulic systems, including: 24/48/80-volt lead acid and lithium-ion batteries.
  • Diagnose and rectify alternator and 240 VAC battery charging systems, fuel cells and electrical / electronic wiring / safety circuits
  • Diagnose and rectify motor control circuits to include: thyristor control (SCR); transistor and separately excited motor control (SEM) systems; AC motor and inverter control
  • Test and interpret Control Area Network (CAN Bus) diagnosis.
  • Check, diagnose and repair electrical braking systems.
  • Install and calibrate automated wire guide and in-aisle warehouse lift trucks and navigation systems.
  • Maintain, install & repair lift truck telematics systems.
  • Maintain, diagnose and repair internal combustion engines, engine management systems and fuel systems to include liquid petroleum gas (LPG) and diesel fuel injection.
  • Maintain, repair and diagnose power-shift / hydrostatic transmissions and final drives.
  • Maintain, adjust and repair complex mast configurations including lift chains, forks arms and attachments.
  • Check, repair and diagnose hydraulics components using pressure gauges, flow meters and on-board computer / laptop programmes.
  • Diagnose and repair hydraulic/electrical proportional control valves and perform breakout calibration of individual valves.

The engineers will have skills to calibrate electronic controllers and recognise the importance of safety devices and systems. Make the required parameter adjustments in compliance with manufactures’ specifications, customer requirements and relevant health & safety legislation.

Occupational Behaviour Overview – The fork lift truck industry requires the engineer to be flexible and adaptable.  The engineer shall be competent in various disciplines and will follow a continued professional development programme for both current and future roles. To ensure company objectives are achieved the lift truck engineer will have the following attributes:

 Safety Culture:

Lift truck activities have many hazards.  It is imperative, therefore, to adhere to a disciplined approach in maintaining a safe environment.

Work Ethic:

Positive work principles: reliable, flexible, diligent and trustworthy.


Committed to health & safety, complying with employer and industry standards.

Willingness to learn:

Actively involved in undertaking continuous professional development (CDP).



Thrives on challenges, uses own initiative, sets targets and achieves goals.


Positive to changing situations, technologies and working environments.

Personal Responsibility:

Driven to succeed: motivated to complete a task and likely to succeed.

Quality Focused:

Complies with policies, procedures, rules and regulation; follows approved engineering principles.

Codes of Conduct:

Company ambassador: polite; wears corporate work clothing; good personal hygiene; maintains company property; keeps vehicle clean; leads by example, demonstrates “can do!” attitude.

Desirable entry requirement:

English and maths GCSE’s grade 4-5 or equivalent; Information Communication Technology (ICT). Aptitude towards mechanical, electrical and ICT

The duration of the apprenticeship is 36 to 48 months to complete full training including final assessment.

Qualifications gained on completion:

Level 3 Diploma in Lift Truck Maintenance and Repair (VRQ) & Level 3 Diploma in Lift Truck Maintenance and Repair Competence (VCQ)