Parking Attendant

The Job and What's Involved

Parking attendants are responsible for:

  • Enforcing traffic regulations and ensuring cars are legally parked.
  • The issuing of penalties to those that are not observing traffic regulations.

Depending on the employer, they may also be referred to as:

- Parking Enforcement Officer
- Parking Ambassador
- Traffic Attendant (mainly Northern Ireland)
- Car Park Security Officer
- Car Park Attendant

Parking attendants are gradually replacing traffic wardens (who are employed by the police service) as more and more local authorities are assuming responsibilities for traffic management. The police are currently responsible for:

  • Traffic and parking offences which result in penalty points.
  • Obstructions.

The duties of a parking attendant responsible for patrolling streets may include:

  • Checking vehicles are correctly parked, displaying a valid permit and observing limited waiting regulations.
  • Issuing penalty charge notices to motorists.
  • Notifying head office of pay-and-display meters, signs and lines in need of maintenance.
  • Arranging for vehicles to be clamped or removed.
  • Removing the cash from ticket machines and stocking the machines with tickets.
  • Checking registration numbers against a list of stolen vehicles and reporting abandoned cars.

Parking attendants working in car parks may be responsible for:

  • Supervising the car parks to ensure they are kept clean and tidy.
  • Taking payments and checking season tickets.
  • Operating the barrier and giving out tickets.
  • Directing motorists to free spaces and indicating when the car park is full.
  • Checking vehicles are correctly parked and displaying a valid ticket.
  • Monitoring the security cameras on closed circuit television (CCTV).
  • Carrying out minor maintenance on meters, emptying the machines of cash and stocking them with tickets.

Parking attendants usually work 37 to 40 hours a week. They may be required to work shifts covering 24 hours a day, including weekends. It may be possible to work part time or on a flexible basis.

Parking attendants on street patrol work outdoors regardless of the weather or time of year. They patrol the streets on foot. Car parks may be outdoors, indoors, or in multi-storey complexes.

Parking attendants are usually provided with a uniform, including a waterproof jacket. They use equipment such as a handheld computer terminal to issue and print tickets, a two-way radio or mobile phone, and a digital camera.

Salaries for parking attendants may start at around £12,500 a year.

Getting Started with this Career Choice

Parking attendants are employed by local authorities, and by private companies who are contracted to manage the parking in places such as hospitals, airports or shopping centres. Jobs exist in towns and cities throughout the UK, and opportunities for parking attendants are growing as they take over the role of traffic wardens.

Vacancies may be advertised in local newspapers, on local authority websites, and through Jobcentre Plus offices and Connexions centres.

Education and Training

No formal entry qualifications are required to work as a parking attendant. Employers may require a minimum of four GCSE's/S grades (A-C/1-3), including English and maths. They look for basic numeracy skills and the ability to deal with all types of people. Customer service experience is useful.

A Few More Exams You Might Need

Training is on the job, initially working under the supervision of an experienced colleague, with some classroom theory also provided by the employer.

Parking attendants are required to learn local traffic regulations and national traffic laws and to keep their knowledge up to date. This is an ongoing job as traffic laws and regulations continue to change.

The following relevant qualifications are available:

  • NVQ/SVQ Level 2 in Controlling Parking Areas
  • NVQ/SVQ Level 3 for Parking Management/Supervision
  • NVQ Level 3 in Parking Clerical
  • City & Guilds Level 2 Certificate for Parking Attendants

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Skills and Personal Qualities Needed

Parking attendants should:

  • Have a good level of physical fitness.
  • Have good communication skills.
  • Be able to work alone or in a team.
  • Be trustworthy and fair minded.
  • Be calm and level headed.
  • Be able to deal with possible hostility and aggression from the public.
  • Be aware of safety issues.
  • Be familiar with the local area to provide assistance or give directions to motorists.
  • Be computer literate.

Your Long Term Prospects

Without qualifications, the opportunities for promotion may be limited. It may be possible to progress to supervisory posts, and further into managerial roles. Senior positions mostly involve office-based work rather than street patrol work.

Get Further Information

British Parking Association (BPA), Stuart House,
41-43 Perrymount Road, Haywards Heath,
West Sussex RH16 3BN
Tel: 01444 447300

Improvement and Development Agency,
Layden House, 76-86 Turnmill Street,
London EC1M 5LG
Tel: 020 7296 6600

Skills for Security, Anbrian House (First Floor),
1 The Tything, Worcester WR1 1HD
Tel: 01905 744000

Information may also be available from local council parking offices.

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