As a petrol service sales assistant, or forecourt assistant, you would sell fuel and other items to customers at garages and service stations.
As customers usually fill their own vehicles with fuel at the pumps, you would mainly take payments and serve customers in the shop. As well as fuel, you would also sell a range of other goods, including food and drinks, newspapers and magazines. Some garages also sell motor spares such as oil, batteries and headlamp bulbs.
Your main duties would include:
Depending on the type of operation you work for, you may have to carry out some basic vehicle checks for customers, for example checking tyre pressures and oil levels.
You would normally work 37 to 40 hours a week on a shift rota. Some service stations are open 24 hours a day, so you may be expected to work evenings, nights and weekends. Part-time work is very common.
You would spend most of your time inside the shop, serving customers, although you may occasionally help customers at the pumps. You may have to work alone, depending on the size of the outlet.
Petrol sales assistants can earn between £12,000 and around £16,000 a year.
There are around 10,000 forecourt sites across the UK, with about 9,000 of these operating a small shop or convenience store on site. Operations range from large supermarket-owned sites to small independently-run garages.
Look out for vacancies advertised with Jobcentre Plus, in the local press and at the forecourts themselves.
You will not need any qualifications, but you should be able to show good communication skills and an ability to deal with payments – customer service, retail or cash handling experience will be useful.
Some companies will only employ people over the age of 18 for legal reasons, for example if the job involves working on your own in a garage.
You may be able to get into this job through an Apprenticeship scheme.
Apprenticeships and Advanced Apprenticeships provide structured training with an employer. As an apprentice you must be paid at least £95 per week; you may well be paid more. A recent survey found that the average wage for apprentices was £170 a week. Your pay will depend on the sector in which you work, your age, the area where you live and the stage at which you have arrived in the Apprenticeship.
Entry to Employment (e2e) can help to prepare those who are not yet ready for an Apprenticeship. In addition, Young Apprenticeships may be available for 14- to 16-year-olds. More information is available from a Connexions personal adviser or at www.apprenticeships.org.uk.
There are different arrangements for Apprenticeships in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The range of Apprenticeships available in your area will depend on the local jobs market and the types of skills employers need from their workers.
Once you start work you will receive on-the-job training in parts of the job such as security, health and safety, and retail skills.
You may be expected to attend a Petrol Retail Passport course as part of health and safety awareness. For more details and a list of training providers, see the Safety Pass Alliance website.
You may also be able to work towards Level 2 NVQ Certificate in Customer Service.
If you work for an oil company, you may be able to take one of their own training programmes, particularly for management jobs.
A petrol service sales assistant needs:
With experience, you may be able to progress to supervisor or manager.
Customer Service Network, Creative Industries Centre,
Wolverhampton Science Park, Glaisher Drive, Wolverhampton WV10 9TG
Tel: 01902 311641
Institute of Customer Service (ICS),
2 Castle Court, St Peter's Street, Colchester, Essex CO1 1EW
Tel: 01206 571716
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