Road Haulage Load Planner

The Job and What's Involved

Waitrose HGV Delivery LorryAs a load planner, you would control the transfer of freight around the country. It would be your job to make sure goods are moved in the most efficient way, taking into account schedules, costs, and health and safety.

You might work for a road haulage company or other businesses with their own fleet of vehicles, such as retail chains.

Your job would involve:

  • Deciding how many vehicles will be needed to deliver each shipment of goods.
  • Working out how much it will cost to make each delivery.
  • Planning the safest way to load and unload goods.
  • Monitoring each delivery as it makes its journey.
  • Reviewing load plans with clients.
  • Making back-up plans to cover changes in circumstances.

You may use computer software packages to help with some of these tasks, for example, to match the size of loads with the vehicles needed to move them.

You would often work shifts on a rota, including early mornings and late nights.

You would normally be based in an office within a warehouse or haulage depot.

Starting salaries can be between £14,500 and £19,000 a year. This can rise to between £20,000 and £28,000 for senior positions.

Getting Started with this Career Choice

There are more than 83,000 people employed in the road haulage business. The industry, as a whole, is growing and there is currently a shortage of suitably qualified people.

Employers vary in size from small local companies to large national and international freight operators.

You could be employed by haulage, removal and courier firms, as well as the distribution departments of large companies.

Vacancies may be advertised in the local and national press, in Connexions centres and Jobcentre Plus offices.

Education and Training

You do not need any particular qualifications to start work as a trainee load planner, although employers will ask for a good standard of general education and some employers may ask for GCSE's in English and maths.

Experience of working in transport or distribution will give you an advantage when looking for work. A background in stock control or administration could also be useful.

You may be able to get into this career through an Apprenticeship scheme with a road haulage firm. 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.

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.

For further information visit My World of Work www.myworldofwork.co.uk/modernapprenticeships, Careers Wales www.careerswales.com; and for Northern Ireland contact www.careersserviceni.com.

A Few More Exams You Might Need

Once you are employed, you would normally receive on-the-job training, and you could be asked to work towards a Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) in National or International Road Haulage.

You could also complete NVQ level 3 in Logistics Operations Management.

See the Skills for Logistics website for more details about training options.

You could improve your career prospects by taking the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport UK (CILT) Certificate, Diploma and Advanced Diploma qualifications – see the CILT website for details of colleges and distance learning options.

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Skills and Personal Qualities Needed

A road haulage load planner needs:

  • Good customer service and communication skills.
  • Problem solving skills and the ability to adapt plans.
  • Computer skills.
  • The ability to work flexibly within a team.
  • Good negotiating skills.
  • The ability to work under pressure and to deadlines.

Your Long Term Prospects

In larger organisations, you may be able to progress to senior or regional load planner.

With further qualifications, you could move into distribution, supply chain or transport management.

Get Further Information

Skills for Logistics,
14 Warren Yard, Warren Farm,
Office Village, Stratford Road,
Milton Keynes MK12 5NW
Tel: 01908 313360
Website: www.skillsforlogistics.org

Chartered Institute of Logistics
and Transport (CILT UK),
Logistics and Transport Centre,
Earlstrees Court, Earlstrees Road,
Corby, Northants NN17 4AX
Tel: 01536 740104
Website: www.ciltuk.org.uk

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