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New Chairman highlights the benefits of the FLAT Fund – the dedicated bursary for fork lift truck service engineers

The Fork Lift Apprentices Trust (or FLAT Fund) has welcomed new Chairman Derek Anderson of Manbat Industrial Power Systems to its Board.

Derek Anderson has worked in the fork lift truck industry for more than 30 years and has been an FLTA board member for four. He initially started life as a battery engineer before founding the highly successful PowerCell in 1996 with his wife, Ingrid.

After winning the prestigious FLTA Supplier of the Year Award, PowerCell was acquired by Manbat Industrial Power Systems in 2014, creating the largest battery sales and support network in the UK with Derek as Technical Director

Speaking after his appointment Derek Anderson said: “The UK fork lift truck sector suffers from an ageing field workforce and there is a clear demand for new, trained engineers to reinvigorate the industry.

“Apprenticeship numbers have recently been boosted by the creation of a single national apprenticeship scheme for fork lift engineers, and we hope the Flat Fund can help overcome some of the hurdles that may prevent employers from the obvious benefits of hiring an apprentice.”

The FLAT Fund is a registered charity established in 2008 as a joint initiative by the fork lift truck world’s two main trade bodies: the Fork Lift Truck Association (FLTA) and British Industrial Truck Association (BITA).

It is dedicated to FLT service engineers and is designed to encourage companies to take on apprentices by contributing towards travel and accommodation costs while an apprentice is studying at college.

On his appointment Derek said: “The FLAT fund is a really excellent and practical initiative. Some smaller fork lift firms may be hesitant to take on new apprentices due to financial pressures, and that’s exactly when the FLAT Fund steps in to help”.

“Taking on an apprentice makes complete commercial sense” continues Anderson. “Apprentices provide companies with an immediate extra pair of hands – and this investment in staff also pays off in the longer term. What’s more home-grown engineers are much more likely to stick with their employer. A recent survey by the National Apprenticeship Service of 555 employers in England revealed that apprentices are much more likely to stay loyal to the business that trained them, and typically stick with their company for much longer than other employees.”

To find out more or to apply to the FLAT Fund, please contact the FLTA office on 01635 277 577 or send an email to Berny Reed at: berny@fork-truck.org.uk.

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