What is UPS package handler training like?
November 15, 2014 8:55 AM   Subscribe

I just got hired at UPS as a package handler. I'm wondering what the training is like, ie is there classroom time, will I need to bring a notebook, how long it goes on for, when we actually get to start working, etc.
posted by atinna to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Call your HR contact and ask them what materials, if any, you need to bring, and what the structure of the training is. "Hi, I'm starting training on Date. Could you give me an outline of materials I should bring and how long the training is so I can prepare appropriately?"
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:07 AM on November 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yeah these are exactly the questions you ask the person who hired you when they say, "Any questions?". If you can't get in touch with that person, definitely bring everything you think you'll need. Better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.
posted by masquesoporfavor at 9:13 AM on November 15, 2014

Response by poster: These are things I didn't think of at the time. Since UPS policies/jobs seem to be similar at all their facilities, is there anyone that has been through training that can answer the original question?
posted by atinna at 9:20 AM on November 15, 2014

It sounds like you were hired for sort. If so, you show up, go over safety and proper lifting techniques, memorize zip codes and where they go, learn what 'smalls' are, and a supervisor will be available. You will be quizzed, but on specific information they hand you. Pretty straightforward and labor intensive. Be prepared for long hours on concrete and around moving belts. (not sort, myself, but close to someone who was). Ups obviously has HR, but they aren't really concerned with patting new employees in rudimentary positions on the hand. Dress in sturdy boots and clothes that you don't mind getting dirty.
posted by lawliet at 9:51 AM on November 15, 2014 [3 favorites]

I have been a seasonal helper (on trucks) for UPS in the past, so I can't speak to the sort training specifically, but here are some general things that I took from my helper training:

1. They will tell you what you need to know as soon as the training starts. Pay attention - they don't waste time. You probably won't need to take notes, but if you do there will probably be pen and paper around so no need to bring your own. You'll probably start work within a few days of your training, if not the next day.
2. This may sound overly obvious given what they do, but UPS values speed and accuracy more than almost anything else. You don't get to choose one or the other.
3. They are also concerned with safety, and with not taking shortcuts. When they show you the way they want you to lift and move something, do it that way, don't try to figure out a different way that works for you.
4. One of the first things my trainer told my trainee group when we started was "Move with purpose". Move as quickly as you can while on the job.
5. Get good shoes.

UPS is a good place to work, but expect to be unbelievably sore the first few days; I bike all the time, run, and work out regularly, and after two days on a truck I was so sore I could barely get out of bed. It's very physical work.
posted by pdb at 11:51 AM on November 15, 2014 [3 favorites]

What type of package handling? There are a few main types:

Sort: you'll be sorting packages somewhere between two trucks.
Load/Unload: you'll be loading or unloading trailers (UPS calls these Feeders)
Preload: you'll be loading the brown trucks (UPS calls these Package Cars).

Check out BrownCafe Forum. It's an unofficial UPS customer forum.

Training: you'll likely go through a training program called Cornerstone. Typically it's a 1-week program that includes classroom time plus hands-on work. By the last day of class, you'll probably spend most of your time on the job.

UPS has very well developed safety guidelines. However, it's easy to get in a mindset where you're likely to cut corners. My advice: be especially vigilant about your safety (namely the body mechanics of lifting and lowering) and make a promise to yourself never to compromise your safety to do your job a little bit faster. You'll definitely be tempted, especially if you're a hard worker and team player and want to do the best job. Just remember that you need your body for the rest of your life.

You'll be constantly reminded of the 8 key steps to lifting and lowering. Take these to heart and never compromise. And when the workload gets insane (you're joining right in the middle of "Peak" where volume is 150-200% of normal) remember that you can't be fired for working safely and as instructed, but you will be fired if your herculean effort breaks safety guidelines and gets you injured.

I worked in preload as both a loader and in operations management. It was fast-paced and always interesting.
posted by reeddavid at 11:35 PM on November 15, 2014

The training I did, pre gulf war 2 was pretty minimal watch a video tape type stuff. I worked loading but the details of the job were not part of the "training." It was basically putting boxes in the right place on the truck so the driver can do his job efficiently. You began to recognize addresses and began to loathe certain recipients, "another 500 lb box for those bastards at Familian NW....haven't they heard of common carrier." It was kind of like fun only different. The manager would come around and say your doing really well..how can we go faster? I was probably too old for the work, my back started hurting and I knew it wasn't going to get better working there so I quit. Would be a great while at school job for a younger person but don't take any crap, they talk a good safety game but where I was they routinely sent overweight stuff your way and told you "just ask another loader to help you." Which would be fine if they then didn't come around and say "your doing great...how can we go faster?" Nobody really asked for help, everybody just chuffed the loads in. All in all though, 10,000 percent better than FedEx.
posted by Pembquist at 8:45 PM on November 16, 2014

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