#CrisisCareersHeroes: Getting people and things around

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Graphics depicting fields of work in this article

This week, we are celebrating the amazing #CrisisCareersHeroes who are helping us all get through the coronavirus outbreak. At Success at School, we want to thank all of these amazing people from the bottom of our hearts and help you learn more about the things they do in their jobs.

Today we’re focusing on the workers who are getting people and things around. Check out our main page to see more articles.

If there are any jobs we have missed, please tweet @successatschool on the hashtag #CrisisCareersHeroes and we’ll aim to do a shout out.

Train graphic

Bus and train drivers

What do they do?

Bus and train drivers keep our public transport going so key workers can travel to work and so we can all access medical services and get to the shops.

How has their job been affected by coronavirus?

Many bus and train companies have reduced their services because of falling demand which means drivers’ work schedules have changed. Buses and trains are being deep cleaned frequently to kill the virus.

On buses, some companies are attaching plastic screens to the cab to protect drivers from infection and providing gloves, masks and hand sanitizer for drivers. Customers are being encouraged to pay by card to avoid drivers having to handle cash. Where possible, train drivers are alone in the engine cab to reduce risk of infection.

There are concerns that in some cases these protective measures are not being taken quickly enough and that this is putting workers at risk.

Buses at the bus station
Bus drivers work an average of 45 hours per week

Job stats

  • Pay: Bus driver £24,000 / Train driver £55,000.
  • Average working week: Bus driver 45 hours per week / Train driver 35 hours per week.
  • Types of shift: Bus drivers work mixed shifts of early mornings and “mid” shifts / Train drivers typically alternate between early, middle and late shifts.
  • Demand: The overall number of bus and train driver jobs is expected to fall in future but retirement will create tens of thousands of vacancies.

How do you qualify for this job?

Bus driver

You’ll need to hold a full EU driving licence to apply to become a bus driver. If you apply successfully, you will train for a Passenger Carrying Vehicle (PCV) licence and Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC Driver) with the operating company. You will need to pass 4 tests to get your CPC Driver certificate.

Train driver

You can apply directly to a train operating company to become an engine driver and normally need good GCSEs in English and maths to qualify. Apprenticeships are available. You will need to have excellent eyesight and hearing and some companies require you to be 21 or over. You will complete hundreds of hours of training in all conditions.

Delivery van graphic

Delivery drivers

What do they do?

Delivery drivers make sure stock gets from the warehouse to the shops and that online orders get from the distribution centre or supermarket to your home. Without them, shop shelves would remain empty and you wouldn’t get your food order or Amazon parcel.

How has their job been affected by coronavirus?

Many delivery drivers are working extra hours because of staff shortages and the need to distribute equipment across the country.

As you’ve probably noticed, orders to home addresses are now being left outside the property and signatures are no longer required when orders are received. This means delivery drivers don’t have to have unnecessary contact with customers.

Some workers in these fields are on tenuous contracts and fear losing their jobs if they take time off because they are unwell. This means some workers are going into work even if they are ill.

Rachel, HGV driver

Rachel says...

"During the first couple of weeks when the outbreak hit the UK, everyone was bulk buying. The mills couldn’t produce quickly enough and we couldn’t get them the product quickly enough – not enough hours in the day!"

Read our full interview with Rachel...

Job stats

  • Pay: £20,000 (depending on type of work e.g. HGV drivers earn an average of £27,000).
  • Average working week: 44-46 hours.
  • Types of shift: Shifts can be quite unpredictable and vary at short notice. You could have to work overnight.
  • Demand: A small reduction in jobs is expected but retirements will create tens of thousands of new jobs.

How do you qualify for this job?

You will need good GCSE grades and a full UK driving licence, often for a minimum period. You can start this job by applying directly to the employer or through an intermediate apprenticeship. To become a truck driver, you will need to train and take an additional test to gain a special HGV licence.

Post box graphic

Postal workers

What do they do?

Mail sorters work in sorting officers in sorting and administrative roles, organising post and coordinating deliveries. Postal workers deliver mail to home and business addresses.

How has their job been affected by coronavirus?

Postal workers are now leaving packages outside customers’ doors instead of handing them over directly and customers no longer have to sign for deliveries.

There have been worries that workers at sorting offices are not getting enough protective equipment such as gloves and masks, despite having to work in close proximity to each other and handle thousands of people’s mail.

Sarah, post woman

Sarah says...

"My job is a bit harder now as the parcel demands have gone through the roof, so I’m very busy with parcels every day. Now what we have to do is put the parcel on the doorstep, knock on the door, stand at a safe distance and wait for the customer to come to the door."

Read our full interview with Sarah...

Job stats

  • Pay: £20,000.
  • Average working week: 41-43 hours.
  • Types of shift: Postal workers often work early shifts, delivering post early in the day and finishing early-mid afternoon.
  • Demand: Mail sorters and postal worker jobs are expected to increase over the coming years.

How do you qualify for this job?

If you have good GCSE grades, you can apply for jobs with Royal Mail or the Post Office directly. You may be able to apply through an apprenticeship. A driving licence will help you gain work as a postal worker.

Warehouse graphic

Warehouse staff

What do they do?

Warehouse workers load and unload delivery lorries and sort, store and fetch stock. They also carry out administrative tasks to ensure deliveries and dispatches are logged. It is a physical job which requires a great deal of endurance and stamina.

How has their job been affected by coronavirus?

Warehouse workers handle a lot of stock and work in close proximity to other workers. Therefore they are at particular risk during this outbreak, and are reliant on employers providing personal protective equipment such as gloves and facemasks as well as hand sanitizer.

Some workers say that they are concerned for their safety as they have to work closely with other staff in confined spaces. This makes it difficult difficult to maintain the 2-metre distancing rule within warehouses and distribution centres.

Warehouse fork lift
A fork-lift truck in operation within a warehouse

Job stats

  • Pay: £18,000.
  • Average working week: 35-40 hours.
  • Types of shift: Fixed shifts which could include daytime, evenings, nights or early mornings.
  • Demand: Jobs are expected to decline in this field of work although retirements will create some new ones.

How do you qualify for this job?

Anyone with good GCSEs can apply for a warehouse job but employers look for those with good physical fitness and the ability to withstand long hours on their feet.

If there are any jobs we have missed, please tweet @successatschool on the hashtag #CrisisCareersHeroes and we’ll aim to do a shout out.

Check out our main #CrisisCareersHeroes page to learn about other workers who are helping us get through the coronavirus crisis.

Images: Graphics by Freepik, macrovector and OpenClipart-Vectors, van and buses via Wikimedia Commons



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