The RTITB Operator of the Year Competition National Finals commenced last week with a remarkable response. The Northern England National Final took place on Wednesday 20th April and was hosted by Toyota Material Handling UK Ltd in Castleford, West Yorkshire.
The competitors took part in two practical tests (The BBC and The Platinum Ring), a pre use check and a theory test, and they were marked on a "penalties" basis, the competitor with the lowest number of penalties after all finalists had completed the tests was crowned Northern England National Champion.
The event was attended by trade publications, employers, accredited organisations, instructors and the general public all of whom expressed that they had thoroughly enjoyed the day. Entertainment was provided alongside the testing for all attendees. There was a caricature artist there for all visitors to take away a special momentum of the day, a Nintendo Wii competition to which a prize was presented for the fastest lap and Toyota Material Handling had a live demonstration area.
The day concluded with the announcement of the Northern England National Champion by Peter Lennon, Head of HSE’s Workplace Transport Team who gave a very informative speech about Health and Safety in the workplace, specifically focusing on lift truck environments. His words highlighted the importance of accredited training and safe operating skills and congratulated the competitors, employers and training organisations that were present on the day and represented the industry so well.
Gary Maher from Jarrow, is employed and trained by TNT Express Services UK & Ireland and was crowned as the Northern England National Champion. The champion received a red buy a gift voucher and a trophy sponsored by Toyota Material Handling UK, he will also go forward to the Grand Final on Friday 16th September where he will compete for the chance to be RTITB Operator of the Year 2011. Gary is a re-entrant from the 2008 competition and this is what he had to say about the day "It was a really excellent day, the tests are a little scary at first but as long as you concentrate its fine, the event was very enjoyable and a lot more relaxed this time round." He also said "I was surprised to be crowned champion but am very glad to have got through to the Grand Final, I have most definitely got my eyes on the prize I want to walk away with a brand new car – and as long I stay clam on the day anything is possible"
The 1st runner up on the day was announced as John Wainwright from Wirral, and is trained and employed by Tata Steel, he received an orange buy a gift voucher and will also go through to the grand final.
The 2nd runner up was Jonathan Morgan who is employed by Nestlé UK Limited and was trained by Fenwick Training Services, he received a jade buy a gift voucher. All competitors were given certificates on the day to highlight there contribution to the competition.
The RTITB Operator of the Year 2011 is sponsored by Toyota Material Handling UK and TNT Express Services UK and Ireland.
The trucks that were used in the finalist testing were supplied by Toyota Material Handling UK and were Toyota 7FBMF electric powered counterbalance trucks, with a 3 ton lift capacity and a 4.3m FSV mast.
The logistics for the event were supplied by TNT Express Services UK & Ireland and was driven by their Fleet Driver of the Year.
The 4 other National Finals take place as follows;
4th May 2011 – Scottish National Final
18th May 2011 – Irish National Final
1st June 2011 – Welsh National Final
15th June 2011 – Midlands & Southern England National Final
The National Finals are open to the public; however attendance (via www.rtitb.co.uk/fltcompetition) should be registered in advance as places are limited.