£16,000 Starter - £27,000 Experienced
43 to 45 a week (days / nights / weekends on shifts)
Where to start
You can get into this job through
You could start by doing a port operative Level 2 apprenticeship.
This apprenticeship typically takes 12 months to complete. You'll usually need some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for a Level 2 apprenticeship.
You could apply directly for cargo jobs if you've got experience in warehouse work, operating mobile cranes or using forklift trucks.
You could also work in passenger operations if you have experience in customer service or travel.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- the ability to operate and control equipment
- the ability to work well with others
- physical skills like lifting, bending and carrying
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- excellent verbal communication skills
- observation and recording skills
- the ability to work well with your hands
- the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
Restrictions and Requirements
You'll need to:
Your employer will put you through port safety training.
It may be useful to have a full driving licence
- pass a medical check
- have forklift truck driver training for some jobs
for cargo roles.
What you’ll do
As a port operative or stevedore you could:
As a passenger worker, you could:
- load and unload cargo containers, using ship or dockside cranes
- transfer cargoes to storage areas with trailers or forklift trucks
- operate conveyors and pumps for bulk cargoes like grain, coal and oil
In marine operations, you would:
- help passengers to get on and off boats and ferries
- give out travel information, like sailing times or weather conditions
- check travel documents
- direct vehicles to and from parking bays aboard vessels
- refuel vessels
- place marker buoys in the harbour
- navigate craft and operate VHF radio and radar equipment
You could work at a port or at a marina.
Your working environment may be physically demanding.
Career path and progression
You could be promoted to foreperson or supervisor, and then move on to become a superintendent or operations manager. You could take further training to specialise in engineering to maintain the heavy machinery used in ports.