With the RTITB Operator of the Year 2011 Grand Final just 2 months away, all 10 Grand Finalists will be filled with excitement, adrenaline and in some cases, potential nerves as they await their chance to be crowned champion. One competitor in particular who has been waiting for the big day to arrive is John Wainwright, from Wirral, who participated in the very first National Final of the competition back in April of this year.
When announced as the first runner-up for the Northern England National Final, held at Toyota Material Handling UK in Castleford, West Yorkshire, John expressed his elation at winning a place at the Grand Final saying: ‘I’m so shocked, I didn’t expect this!’ John, along with 11 other National Finalists including region champion, Gary Maher, was required to complete two practical tests, The BB and The Platinum Ring, along with the successful completion of a pre-use check and a theory test. On being a Grand Finalist John said: ‘I had no clue that I’d get this far. In all honesty, I was shocked that I made it to the National Finals at all!’
Having participated in the first regional final, John has been required to wait longer than other competitors for the all important final, to be held on 16th September at the RTITB Headquarters in Telford, Shropshire. On his feelings about the pending final he said: ‘I’m really looking forward to it. It’s been quite a while since the National Final but I’ve been keeping up-to-date with the run-up to the competition via the official Facebook page.’
Having worked as an operator for 15 years, John holds a wealth of experience and skill in fork lift truck operation. Regarding preparation for the big day, he divulged that he had not done any specific practise, stating: ‘So far I’ve just done basic practise from completing my day to day tasks on the fork lift. I’m aiming to do some in the build-up to the final with my instructor as a refresher.’ Details of the Grand Final testing have been kept secret from the Grand Finalists, similar to the National Finals. However, John sees this as a positive thing in correlation to his practise, or lack thereof, stating: ‘I don’t operate lift trucks all day everyday but I think this is a good advantage as it means I won’t pick up any bad habits ahead of the final.’
John, who is employed by Tata Steel, was made aware of the competition, now in its second year, by the promotional postcards that were distributed by RTITB to thousands of qualified counterbalance operators across the UK and Ireland. The competition is the first of its kind and has been praised by those within the logistics industry. John, who is engaged and expecting his first child in November, is also impressed by the competition, saying that he would gladly recommend it to other operators.
The Grand Final daytime event is open to the public who can register to attend via the RTITB website, www.rtitb.co.uk/fltcompetition. Along with the chance to watch the 10 Grand Finalists complete a series of 8 tests, there will also be a selection of games, entertainment and refreshments on offer throughout the day, as well as the chance to meet the RTITB team.