Ramp agents load, unload and move baggage and cargo around an airport, both landside and airside (before and after the security boundary). They also carry out inspections, hazard checks and operate equipment such as stairs and bridges.
You could be:
- using lifting equipment, operating a conveyor belt or driving a truck to move baggage and cargo around the airport
- checking baggage labels against passenger lists to make sure that the right luggage goes on to the right plane
- correctly loading and storing cargo or luggage in the aircraft's hold so that it can fly safely and fuel efficiently
- unloading baggage onto a conveyer belt or carousel for passengers to collect at baggage reclaim when they land
- clearing runways after a storm or heavy snowfall, de-icing aircraft and making sure airside pavements and surfaces are free of debris
- directing traffic, attaching stairs and bridges to aircraft and operating a variety of ground machinery
- carrying out aircraft and equipment inspections and checking for hazards
- using a radio to report any item that looks suspicious
- ensuring that duties are carried out efficiently to allow aircraft to arrive and depart on time.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates vary, depending on:
- where you work
- the size of the company or organisation you work for
- the demand for the job.
Starting pay is often based on the National Minimum Wage (NMW) or the National Living Wage (NLW).
As of 1 April 2020 the National Minimum Wage is £6.45 an hour for workers aged 18 to 20 and £8.20 an hour for workers aged 21 to 24. The National Living Wage is £8.72 for workers aged 25 and over. With experience, this can rise to around £10.00 an hour.
Overtime and shift allowance payments can greatly increase salaries.
- You would work both indoors and outdoors, in all weathers.
- You might work in cold, cramped and noisy conditions.
- You would have to lift, carry and load heavy weights, and objects which may be fragile or awkwardly shaped.
- You are likely to work shifts, including nights, weekends and public holidays.
- You would wear a uniform, and sometimes safety clothing such as a high visibility vest, hard hat or ear defenders.
- Jobs can be seasonal, with extra temporary jobs during the holiday season and lay-offs in the winter.
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- You should have a good general education.
- You may need to be at least 18 years of age, because of shift work regulations.
- You are likely to need a driving licence and a fork-lift truck licence or Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) licence may be useful. You may have to sit an employer’s driving test.
- You will require a satisfactory criminal record check from Disclosure Scotland to show that you are suitable for this type of work. Contact Disclosure Scotland for details on the type you would need.
- You should be fit and may have to have a medical examination.
- You may need to live within a certain distance of the airport you work at.
- You usually require a full driving license.
Workforce Education Levels (UK)
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Job Outlook Scotland
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What Does it Take?
You need to be:
- able to follow and act on instructions
- physically strong and have stamina
- good at working as part of a team
- able to work quickly and accurately, especially when under pressure
- honest and reliable
- aware of security and health and safety issues
- able to work with machinery.
You need to have:
- good communication skills
- good numeracy and literacy skills.
- On the job training is provided by your employer.
- This includes the safe operation of equipment such as fork-lift trucks, luggage carriers, conveyor belts and barcode identification equipment.
- You are also likely to be trained in airport security and health and safety procedures.
- You may be able to work towards a relevant Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ).
- If you are required to drive vehicles airside, you will need to pass a course to obtain a permit.
- After sufficient experience you may be able to get promotion to a supervisory post such as team leader.
- There may also be opportunities to move on to other areas of work, such as cargo operations, aircraft dispatching or passenger services.
Scotland has six main airports: Aberdeen, Dundee, Inverness, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Glasgow Prestwick. There are also about a dozen small airports serving individual Scottish islands.
The following organisations may be able to provide further information.
People 1st - Careers That Move
People 1st is the Sector Skills Council for the hospitality, passenger transport, travel and tourism industries.
Careers That Move is in association with People 1st and the UKSP. It is the careers website for passenger transport and travel.
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