Whether you love them or hate them, traffic wardens are essential for each community for ensuring that parking laws and rules are adhered to in streets, roads and car parks as well as other duties associated with public spaces. Also known as civil enforcement officers, traffic wardens are based mostly outside as they predominantly patrol streets and car parking areas, observing for any issues that they will be required to deal with.
Traffic wardens will often be employed by the local council and will be designated certain areas in which to work. As it is an active job that requires you to be outside in all weathers, before you apply for the role you must be certain that you are able to withstand cold and rainy weather conditions as well as much warmer temperatures for long periods of time. Additionally you must have good communication and interpersonal skills as you will be dealing with a variety of people on a daily basis, some of which may become aggressive or confrontational towards you. In these situations, you will be able to handle the circumstances effectively, competently calling for appropriate assistance if deemed necessary. You will often need to explain the importance and consequences regarding certain rules and regulations to those who may not be aware of them so you must be patient, tolerant and be able to show empathy when needed in the different situations that you will undoubtedly encounter in your job.
Often, no formal qualifications will be required to apply for the job which focuses more on a keen attitude to learn, a smart appearance and a general level of physical fitness but of course, by having previously attained qualifications and certificates, this will set you apart from other candidates especially if there are many applications for one job. Do not underestimate any previous job experience where you may have dealt with members of the public in any capacity as you will already possess a certain degree of knowledge of what is known as soft skills. Soft skills are non technical, interpersonal abilities that allow effective communication and dialogue with others. Examples are all forms of communication, teamwork scenarios, adaptability, problem solving and time management in various settings.
Basic computer literacy will be helpful as well as a clean driving licence but training courses will be given where you will learn the various current legislations and guidelines of both their local area and those documented in for example, the Road Traffic Acts and the Traffic Management Acts.
Think of where you have seen traffic wardens in your community and it will give you a fairly good idea of some of the tasks you may be required to perform in the job. You may be patrolling car parks, residential areas or busy commercial roads. You may be monitoring school crossing patrols or keeping areas around schools safe. You may be reporting faulty equipment such as parking meters or parking barriers or issuing a penalty charge to illegally parked vehicles! (We have all received at least one!). Perhaps you are liaising with other professionals to keep areas safe, writing and submitting reports, monitoring traffic or are responsible for managing large events and keeping the traffic flowing safely.
Whatever you do, you are guaranteed that no two days will ever be the same. You will usually work shift patterns which include weekends and although the job offers a lot of autonomy, you will have a team leader or manager to report to and check in with. As you progress and gain relevant experience and training, there will be opportunities to become a senior enforcement officer or pursue supervisory or managerial positions in this area of work.