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RTITB, TNT and Toyota: Setting the standard for industry, together

With the Operator of the Year 2011 Grand Final less than 2 weeks away, RTITB are aiming to light up the industry once again.

The competition, first established in 2008, has been acknowledged as an innovative way in which to allow qualified counterbalance operators the opportunity to showcase their operating skills. At the same time, the competition also acknowledges the hard work and dedication of their trainers.

The 2011 competition has evolved since the original, thanks to sponsorship courtesy of TNT Express Services UK & Ireland and Toyota Material Handling UK. Laura Nelson, Operations Director at RTITB, said of the sponsors: "Both TNT and Toyota Material Handling are RTITB accredited organisations and have long established working relationships with RTITB. Both organisations place safety at the forefront of their businesses and this was essential for any competition sponsor."

Showing their dedication to setting the standards within the material handling industry, RTITB ensured that the 2011 competition would be bigger and better than ever, starting with the first ever National Finals. Commenting on the success of the competition Laura Nelson said: "The chance to take the competition out to the regions for the National Finals was fantastic (and challenging!), giving us a great opportunity to meet customers and industry representatives that we would not normally have the chance to spend time with. I hope that those who attended the National Finals got a sense of what the competition is all about and how important safe, correctly trained lift truck operators are to the logistics industry."

As sponsors of the competition, both TNT and Toyota have been provided with an opportunity to align their companies and brands with an industry recognised lift truck operator competition. Whilst Toyota provided both a venue for the Northern England National Final and the trucks required throughout the National Finals, TNT played host to the Midlands & South National Final and supplied the logistics for the events.

Of their involvement in the competition, Tony Wallis, Operations Director for Toyota Material Handling UK said: "At Toyota we believe that investing in quality operator training can not only help customers improve safety in the workplace, but also work more productively. By partnering with RTITB, who are respected in the industry, we wanted to show the industry how dedicated we are to promoting the benefits of operator training." Commenting on the benefits of being associated with the competition, Dave Copping, Operations Learning and Development Manager for TNT Express Services UK & Ireland said: "Sponsoring the competition has enabled us to improve on our already great relationship with RTITB, as well as promote some healthy competition amongst our FLT operators. RTITB strives for consistency in operation across all FLT operators and the competition showcases the skills of these individuals and demonstrates how it should be done!"

The Grand Final will see all 10 finalists battle it out for the chance to be declared Operator of the Year 2011 and win the coveted grand prize of a brand new Toyota Aygo Ice. The competition welcomes operators of all experiences and backgrounds and the 10 competitors will be supported by all at RTITB, Toyota and TNT. Dave Copping said: "To operate this equipment to the standards demonstrated in the regional heats takes time, dedication and a commitment to the profession. We wish good luck to all of the finalists." Tony Wallis also wished to send a few words of encouragement: "Enjoy the day and be proud of what you have already achieved. The 10 finalists are already winners to get this far so no-one is a loser at this stage."

The Grand Final is guaranteed to surpass the expectations that were set by its predecessor and continue to grow. On the future of the competition Laura Nelson said: "Lift Truck Operators are all too often forgotten but they do a very demanding and essential job and this competition is all about that fact and giving good operators the recognition they deserve. I sincerely hope the competition will get bigger and better and I really encourage employers to ensure all lift truck operators receive good quality accredited basic and refresher training."

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