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Warehouse operative skills and entry requirements

The good news is that getting a job as a warehouse operative is pretty much open to anyone.

Peter Ward, chief executive of the UK Warehousing Association, said: “It’s a great career opportunity. You can enter after GCSEs or A Levels and it doesn’t require a degree for you to go far and you won’t be saddled with a student loan either.”

“If you think it’s about about men in brown coats and clipboards you’d be wrong. This is a highly dynamic, fast-moving industry with some of the biggest players around involved, like Amazon and Apple, and it’s technology-driven with an increasing use of automation.”

Generally, there are no set entry requirements, but GCSEs (A* to C / 4 to 9) in English, Maths and IT (particularly useful if you need to enter data and maintain inventories) are the sort of thing that an employer would be looking for.

If you think of yourself as a practical, common sense sort of person with a methodical approach, who is happy to work in a team, this might be the role for you. The ability to work quickly, accurately and safely are also highly desirable skills.

Oliver King, managing director of corporate logistics for Aldi stores, said: “Our regional distribution centres are very fast-paced environments and our warehouse operatives are responsible for making sure millions of products get to stores at the freshest, so they have to be organised and hardworking, with the ability to work well under pressure.

“Our warehouse roles can be physically demanding, so they are more suited to candidates that like to be active and thrive in a busy environment.”

Plumbcity is a plumbers’ merchant in East Anglia that stocks 10,000 individual items at its warehouse. Finance director, Tony Cronin, said: “We look for enthusiasm and drive, people who are meticulous with details and focused on ensuring accuracy. Plumbers come to us because they know we hold the stock they need, we cannot afford for them to come in and be disappointed because of poor stock control.

“We are very focused on our team and we want people to join who have the energy and passion for the company that we all do. Everyone helps everyone else out, we do not have a ‘that’s not my job’ culture here. If something needs doing, we all roll our sleeves up and help get it done.”