Simon Hall works at a fuel station in Milton Keynes. He serves customers who stop to fill their cars with fuel or buy convenience goods from the store. He works behind the till where he has a good view of the forecourt and its eight diesel and petrol pumps.
What does your job involve?
I am usually based at the till, assisting customers with their fuel and convenience shop purchases. Most people are here to buy fuel but we sell a variety of goods in the shop, such as flowers, newspapers, soft drinks and wine as well as sandwiches, snacks, stationery and basic motoring items.
What equipment do you use?
I mainly use one of the two tills where I take payment from customers. The tills have a device which beeps the number of the pump when a customer picks up the nozzle. I have a quick look outside first to check they are using it safely and not smoking or using a mobile phone, and when I press a button to release the fuel. I also operate the coffee machine and ovens as we sell hot snacks.
Who do you work with?
There are fifteen of us altogether and we tend to work in teams of three at a time. Depending on how busy it is, there might be one or two of us on the tills or I might be in the office or the stockroom, or taking deliveries of convenience food at the back.
Do you ever spend time out on the forecourt?
Yes. There are times when I need to help people, for example, when the nozzles don't switch on automatically. This can happen because it has been picked up too fast, although sometimes there is an electronic fault and I need to call an engineer. I might also on out and help people put air in their tyres.
Do many people drive off without paying?
It happens sometimes. We ring the police and provide them with details of the car. I check the registration plate number from our CCTV (closed circuit television). Most of the time, though, people have genuinely forgotten and come back later to pay.
Do you have a typical day?
I generally work either from 6am to 2pm or from 2pm to 10pm. Occasionally, I work night shifts, from 10.00pm to 6.00am. That's when fuel is usually delivered and I have to complete paperwork to verify that the correct type of fuel is put into each tank.
What was your route into this job?
I didn't want to go to college after my A levels, so I visited my local Jobcentre Plus Office and they arranged an interview here for me. I was ready for a change from study and this career choice seemed more flexible.
Do you wear a uniform?
Yes, we have dark coloured trousers and polo shirts and jumpers with the logo and our name badges. If I go out onto the forecourt I have to wear a green fluorescent vest.
Can you describe the training you've received so far?
I have had training in fire safety, food hygiene and customer services. I am currently working towards my NVQ Level 2 in Retail Operations – I have the technical certificate to do and I am keeping a diary of all my activities.
What do you like best about your job as a forecourt assistant?
I like the variety. There is lots of activity and I am not stuck in one place all the time. I also like the fact that I can build positive relationships with our regular customers.
Are there any disadvantages?
I don't enjoy having to deal with problems like a pump breaking down or the till crashing when its really busy, especially during the morning rush period between 7.00am and 9.00am on weekdays.
- A levels.
- Joined petrol company after leaving school.
- You need to be patient and helpful towards others.
- You must enjoy working as part of a team to do this job successfully.
Forecourt assistant related jobs
- Car salesperson
- Car valet
- Checkout operator
- Motor vehicle manufacturing operative
- Sales assistant
- Store owner/manager
Salary of a forecourt assistant
- A forecourt assistant can earn £5.67 per hour – equating to an annual salary of around £11,500 for a 39-hour week. Supervisors can earn up to £15,000.
- Qualifications are not usually required although most employers will not employ anyone under the age of 18 as they have to be able to operate a forecourt without supervision and to receive fuel deliveries.
- Training is usually on the job, and forecourt assistants can work towards vocational qualifications such as the Working Safely in Petrol Stations VRQ.
- Relevant NVQs/SVQs include Forecourt Operations at Level 2 and Retail Operations on the Forecourt at Levels 2 and 3.
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