The difference between Accredited and In-House Forklift Training

accredited forklift training

What is Accredited Training?

Accreditation is the recognition from an officially recognised agency that a company maintains a certain level of educational standards.

In this article we hope to set out the advantages and disadvantages of both forklift operator training types of delivery – Accredited and In-House.

The 1964 Industrial Training Act was created by the government to tackle the severe lack of training provided to UK businesses which was resulting in numerous accidents and lack of productivity.

One of these organisations was the RTITB (Road Transport Industrial Training Board). Within a very short space of time they developed the forklift training standards and the operator driving test – it was all very basic and paper based.

In 1979 the RTITB and all the other 27 industrial training boards were either closed or sold at very favourable rates to the directors after a number of reports in newspapers of these bodies being a waste of government money.

Today, the RTITB are a private company that in simple terms provide testing of forklift instructors, maintain a database of qualified instructors and drivers, much like the DVLA do for car drivers throughout the UK.

They do not provide the driver training, this is carried out by private companies such as ourselves – whom the RTITB inspect for quality assurance to ensure we are following the rules set out by the RTITB – known as being RTITB Accredited.

in-house Forklift training

The benefits of using RTITB Accredited Training

  • Instructors are proven/tested as being competent, as they are tested by the RTITB external examiners.
  • Training facilities are required to have a minimum standard training resources, such as number of pallets, types of loads, pallet racking, classroom content, battery care, structures for steering exercises and much more.
  • Training records are held centrally on a secure database, externally to our training company, so they can be sought even if the training company should cease trading.
  • Training courses must achieve certain minimum durations, ensuring sufficient driving practice is achieved to become competent at driving the forklift.
in-house Forklift training advantages

What is In-House or non-accredited Forklift Training?

In 2013 the Health and Safety Executive revised the ACOP (Approved Code of Practice) for forklift operator training L117 and stopped an official recognition of the accreditation schemes offered to the RTITB and other established forklift training awarding/accreditation schemes.

This has opened up the pathway for training companies to develop their own training courses following the basic rules set out in the ACOP L117.

The Benefits of Using In-House Forklift Training

  • Instructors are still RTITB tested by external examiners, maintaining the same competence.
  • Training facilities are not monitored by an external organisation, so the training can be delivered at any site and not dependent on a minimum standard of facilities
    Training courses are not subject to a minimum duration, only that the course content stated in the ACOP L117 must be provided.
  • Training records are held only by the training company and certificates are provided free of charge, no additional certificate/registration processing fee is required to be paid.
  • Course content can be altered or modified to suit the customer/business or environment the drivers are operating within, only training drivers on skills they need at a certain location – making the course more focused or the drivers work environment.
  • Due to training being more limited in content and focused on individual environments the courses are shorter and therefore lower cost.
  • Certificates provided are not transferable to another company – reducing the likelihood or drivers leaving employment soon after training.
in-house Forklift training

What about the disadvantages of RTITB Accredited?

  • Training courses are sometimes too long in duration for customer needs, meaning more time away from work, with loss of productivity and costly expense.
  • Fees must be paid to RTITB for each driver licence – £15 plus vat with our company cost structure.
  • Training facilities must be inspected annually and maintained to a high standard and have a minimum of resources making the cost of running a training centre more expensive, this cost is passed on to the customer.
  • In essence, higher quality training includes external processing and monitoring of training delivery, which results more expense to the customer.

What are the disadvantages of In-House forklift training?

  • There is no external organisation ensuring the delivery of the training to forklift drivers is adequate – the employer of the drivers must be satisfied they are trained correctly.
  • The records of operator training are held by the training company, should they cease trading all this data may be lost.
  • The certificates issued are likely to be only accepted by the company where the training was carried out and not accepted at other sites, such as drivers using a forklift on customer sites outside of their own employer.


To sum up, since 2013 when the Health and Safety Executive updated the rules on Lift Truck Operator Training – Operator training and safe use. Approved Code of Practice and guidance, it has opened up the pathway for many businesses to choose lower cost In-House, non-accredited training courses.

These courses come with more risk to the employer as they are un-monitored and vary vastly in content dependent on the delivery provided by the training company.

They also have a greater lack of traceability owing to the training company holding all the training records that will be unaudited and not stored on a centralised secure database that can exist outside of the training company who delivered the training, making reproduction of records of training potentially difficult at a later date.

However, these courses are low cost and will if carried out adequately, satisfy the HSE that training has been delivered competently to forklift drivers, ready for inspection should the HSE inspectors visit the company premises.

If you or the company require secure records of training delivery that can be easily audited or retrieved at a later date should the worst happen. Need the ability to use the forklift licence at other external sites such as customer premises, then you may wish to use RTITB Accredited training courses.

You could say In-House ticks all the boxes and Accredited provides a guarantee of quality – the choice is yours – we are happy to provide both types of forklift training.

Further Reading

We’re often asked for more information on the benefits of accredited training (RTITB). For more details check out our detailed guide:

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