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The Royal Mail is currently still under the ownership of the UK Government, there are plans to look to private it in 2014 or 2015, it has traditionally offered good long term job security for people willing to work hard. Being a postal delivery driver is one of the many jobs they offer.

Here are findings to help you decide if it’s the job for you:

1. Postal delivery drivers courier mail between any number of fixed points, including mail centres, stations, airports and business premises.

2. As well as driving, you may be expected to sort mail and ensure health and safety rules are met.

3. You will also be expected to represent your employer in public, so good communication skills and good manners will be needed.

4. While there are no fixed qualifications, you will need to have good maths and English skills.

5. Additionally, a full UK driving licence with as few penalty points as possible is required.

6. Royal Mail is the biggest employer of postal delivery drivers, though a number of private competitors also employ drivers.

7. Pay with the Royal Mail starts at around £9 an hour, with bonuses for overtime.

What Do Postal Delivery Drivers Do?

As the job title suggests, postal delivery drivers’ courier mail between any number of fixed points. As the Royal Mail notes: “our drivers are responsible for transporting post from mail centres, train centres and airports to business and financial institutions”.

The work can be physically demanding and long, often unsociable hours can be the norm rather than the exception.

Alongside your driving duties, you may also be required to carry out a number of other tasks, including:

  • Sorting mail by hand or with the help of a machine prior to transporting it.
  • Representing your employers – whether it’s the Royal Mail or another provider – in public.
  • Ensuring health and safety guidelines are followed at all times.

Qualifications and Skills

There are no fixed academic qualifications for becoming a postal delivery driver, though you maybe expected to have at least solid GCSEs in Maths and English as well as being able to demonstrate a keen eye for detail. In some cases, these will be tested for through an online application process as well as in an interview.

However, given that driving will form the central part of your job, you will be expected to hold a full UK manual driving licence, with most employers requiring that you have no more than 6 penalty points.

Note that employers may look favourably on candidates with an Advanced Driver Training certificate, though the Royal Mail support their drivers in gaining this extra qualification.

Alongside a full UK driving licence and some basic maths and English skills, you may also be expected to demonstrate:

  • A good level of personal fitness
  • A high level of personal integrity, reliability and honesty
  • Excellent timekeeping skills and the ability to work well unsupervised
  • Good communications and customer service skills

Once you are working as a driver, you will be able to build up your skills and qualifications, with several industry-specific qualifications open to you. For example, the website Skills for Logistics offers specialist courses in Mail Services, with these “designed for candidates dealing with the collection, delivery and processing of all types of mail and parcels”.

Finding Jobs

Royal Mail is by far the biggest employer in the sector and their dedicated careers website: Royal Mail Careers is regularly updated with vacancies for new drivers and delivery staff. It’s also a good place to find out more about other career opportunities in the sector and to find out about its Apprenticeships and Senior Talent Entry Programme.

Alternatively, a number of major postal service rivals also advertise for delivery drivers, among them:

  • UK Mail
  • DHL Careers

Pay and Benefits

Royal Mail postal delivery drivers earn upwards of £8.60 an hour, with higher overtime rates and bonuses for good performance also on offer. Pay is currently reviewed every 6 or 12 months, with senior drivers able to move into positions offering more responsibilities and better rates of pay.

Rival, private-sector employers generally pay on a par with Royal Mail, though they also offer some drivers the chance to work on a freelance basis and potentially earn up to £35,000 a year depending on their levels of reliability and productivity.

Further Reading

If you decide that being a Postal Delivery Driver isn’t the job for you then why not look at our other Driving Jobs Guides, they should have you decide if driving for a living is for you.

On UK Jobs Guide is your local Job Centre Online, its contact information, including a map, and all the jobcentre phone numbers to call for help and for the latest jobs.

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