In the driving seat for a new career

Trainee Nick Thorpe at the Skillsbase training centre at Harpur Hill.Trainee Nick Thorpe at the Skillsbase training centre at Harpur Hill.
Trainee Nick Thorpe at the Skillsbase training centre at Harpur Hill.
A five-day course in forklift truck driving at Buxton & Leek College is helping unemployed people back into the jobs market.

Job centres are signposting people to the college’s new £1 million Skillsbase training centre on the Harpur Hill Business Park in Buxton where, thanks to good links with a local employment agency, trainees are leaving with a new job as well as a qualification.

Tutor Tony Deane, who delivers the Road Transport Industry Training Board (RTITB) course, has trained people of all ages in forklift truck handling, warehouse and storage.

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And he says that trainees don’t need a driving licence to sign up for the week-long course. The training can be delivered to individuals and groups at their own factory premises as well as at the Skillsbase Centre.

He said: “We can train people three at a time in forklift truck handling and trainees are usually interviewed here on site by a local employment agency.

“Most walk out of here with a job once they have their forklift truck licence.”

Trainee Shane Mitchell, 27, from Buxton, had been unemployed for a year prior to starting the training.

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He said: “Everyone I know who has taken this course has got a job within a week so I’m looking forward to getting some stable employment.

“The course has only cost me £15 for the licence through my local job centre and, once I’ve got my forklift licence and completed the Level Two Warehouse and Storage course, if I can find work then I will be able to afford driving lessons and eventually get my own transport.”

Fellow trainee Nick Thorpe, 53, from Chapel-en-le-Frith, said: “I’ve got 22 years’ experience in warehouse work so thought a forklift truck licence would help me back into the workplace.

“I’ve lived in Buxton all my life but didn’t even know this Skillsbase centre was here despite almost driving past it when I’ve been to the go-kart track on the Harpur Hill Business Park.”

To find out more about the courses on offer at Skillsbase, call 0800 074 0099 or visit

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