Postal Delivery Worker

The Job and What's Involved

As a postal delivery worker, you would sort letters and small packages before delivering them to homes and businesses.

You would normally be based in a district delivery office, and have a round or 'walk' covering several hundred addresses. You could also work in a larger mail processing centre, dealing with incoming and outgoing mail for delivery across the country and overseas.

Your duties would include:

  • Sorting mail by hand, into address order on a sorting frame.
  • Operating automated mail handling equipment, known as integrated mail processors (IMPs).
  • Delivering mail on foot, using a bicycle or by van.
  • Collecting customer signatures for registered post and recorded deliveries.
  • Picking up mail from post boxes, post offices and businesses within the district.
  • Dealing with wrongly addressed or returned mail.
  • Moving mail to and from processing centres, delivery offices, railway stations and airports.

As a postal delivery worker in a rural area, you may have extra duties, such as delivering milk and other goods.

You would work up to 40 hours a week full time, including Saturday mornings. You may have the option to work part-time hours or overtime, particularly at Christmas.

You could cover two or three miles each day on your deliveries, and your mail pouch could weigh up to 16kg at the start of your round, although you may be able to use a mail trolley or bicycle. You would be expected to work in all weather conditions.

Your employer would provide you with a uniform and footwear.

Starting salaries are around £15,000 a year.
After 12 months' service, this rises to around £17,000.

There are extra payments for unsocial hours, driving duties and other responsibilities.

Postal workers in and around London usually receive a higher salary.

Getting Started with this Career Choice

See the Royal Mail website, or contact your local delivery office for information about job vacancies. You can find addresses in the local phone book or by asking at your nearest post office.

You could also find delivery jobs with other licensed mail operators.

Education and Training

You do not need any specific qualifications to do this job but your interview would usually include an aptitude test. This test is designed to check that you can read addresses properly and spot errors.

You may be able to get into this career by completing an Apprenticeship. The range of Apprenticeships available in your area will depend on the local jobs market and the types of skills employers need from their workers.

Apprenticeships and Advanced Apprenticeships provide structured training with an employer. As an apprentice you must be paid at least £95 per week; you may well be paid more. A recent survey found that the average wage for apprentices was £170 a week. Your pay will depend on the sector in which you work, your age, the area where you live and the stage at which you have arrived in the Apprenticeship.

Entry to Employment (e2e) can help to prepare those who are not yet ready for an Apprenticeship. In addition, Young Apprenticeships may be available for 14- to 16-year-olds. More information is available from a Connexions personal adviser or at

There are different arrangements for Apprenticeships in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

For further information visit My World of Work, Careers Wales; and for Northern Ireland contact

You would need a driving licence with no more than 6 endorsements ('points') on it for any driving duties you may have.

Visit the Royal Mail website for more details about careers in the postal service.

A Few More Exams You Might Need

When you start work, you will usually receive two to three days' induction training at a head office, before moving to your district delivery office. You would then train on the job, under the supervision of experienced staff.

You could work towards the NVQ Level 2 in Mail Services, which has units in:

- Sorting mail
- Delivering mail
- Using automated systems
- Collecting and transporting mail

See the Skills for Logistics website for more details about relevant qualifications.

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Skills and Personal Qualities Needed

A postal delivery worker needs:

  • A good level of fitness.
  • Reliability and honesty.
  • Good time-keeping and the ability to keep to a delivery schedule.
  • Good reading, writing and maths skills.
  • The ability to deal with repetitive tasks quickly and efficiently.
  • Basic computer skills for clerical tasks, such as re-directing mail.
  • Good communication and customer service skills.
  • The ability to work alone or as part of a team.
  • An awareness of health and safety issues.

Your Long Term Prospects

With experience, you could be promoted to higher grades like supervisor and manager.

You could also move into parcel deliveries, courier jobs, post office counter work, or customer care and administration within district offices.

Get Further Information

Skills for Logistics,
14 Warren Yard, Warren Farm Office Village,
Stratford Road, Milton Keynes MK12 5NW
Tel: 01908 313360

Royal Mail Group PLC,
100 Victoria Embankment,
London EC4Y 0HQ

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