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Forklift Operator of the Year 2013 reaps rewards of competition win

After winning the title of Forklift Operator of the Year in 2013, Wincanton employee Ryszard Janus has recently qualified as an RTITB lift truck instructor.

Ryszard Janus beat 39 other finalists to be crowned the best forklift operator in the country, which he says helped to develop his confidence to become a forklift operator instructor.

“There was some serious competition at the 2013 event, so I was thrilled to have won,” he says. “Being recognised as a skilled forklift operator has helped me to further develop in my career and I am pleased to say that I have passed my RTITB training to become a qualified forklift operator instructor.”

A tremendous amount of talent and knowledge was displayed by the 2013 competition finalists, but only one operator could win. Ryszard was announced as the 2013 winner and presented with a brand new Toyota Aygo at a prestigious gala dinner event, sponsored by Toyota Material Handling UK, TNT Express Services UK and Ireland, and Calor Gas Ltd.

“It’s so important to have the right skills and knowledge in this industry and the Operator of the Year award gave me an extra something to train for and a goal to aim towards – it’s a further incentive for safety,” adds Ryszard Janus.

Returning in 2016, the RTITB Operator of the Year Competition is held every three years to find the best forklift operator in the country. It offers a number of benefits.

“It encourages operators to strive to be the best, resulting in safer skilled operators in the workplace and, as demonstrated by Ryszard, it can contribute to career progression, encouraging operators to take pride in their work,” explains Laura Nelson, Operations Director of leading workplace transport training accrediting body, RTITB. “For employers, enhanced operator focus and high quality training can also positively impact the company’s bottom line, through enhanced operational efficiency and damage reduction.”

The competition begins with an online theory test, opening in April 2016. The top 40 entrants will be chosen to compete in live heats at IMHX (International Materials Handling Exhibition) from 13-16 September 2016, with the top 10 finalists moving on to the grand final held in early 2017.

The initial part of the last competition was an online hazard perception test and was open to some 300,000 RTITB lift truck operators. The top 40 of these moved on to the live heats which were held in March at IMHX 2013 at the Birmingham NEC.

A week’s worth of tests separated the 10 best entrants who went forward to the Grand Finals. The heats included challenges based on theory knowledge and skills, along with operational abilities. The tests feature extraordinary circumstances and are performed in front of the public, making the competition incredibly challenging.

“Operations managers and supervisors should start considering some of their best forklift operators to enter into the 2016 Operator of the Year competition,” adds Laura Nelson.

Preparations for 2016’s Operator of the Year competition are under way and RTITB predicts the same high calibre of entrants for next year’s prestigious event. To enter or find out more, visit www.opofyear.com. For the opportunity to sponsor the event please contact the marketing team on 01952 520218. Visit www.rtitb.co.uk for more information.

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