As the first runner up of the RTITB Operator of the Year 2011 Scottish National Final back in May of this year, Simon Bottomley expressed his joy at winning a place at the Grand Final held at the RTITB Headquarters in Telford, stating: ‘I thought it was a joke when I was announced as a grand finalist!’ However, just two months later, the competitor in him is growing and of the looming Grand Final joked: ‘I’m looking forward to driving my new car!’
Simon was one of 12 National Finalists who competed at GTG Training Ltd in Glasgow earlier this year. Completing a series of practical tests followed by a pre-use check and theory test, Simon’s level of expertise and skill in forklift truck operating enabled him to sail through to the Grand Final, along with Scottish National Final champion, Robert Watson.
Simon, of Ramsey in the Isle of Man, has been an operator for 9 years, following his training with Manx Industrial Training Services. Of the pending Grand Final he said: ‘I’m really looking forward to it. I’m not feeling nervous yet, I think that as long as I stay focused, it’ll be ok.’ Similar to the National Finals, the competitors will be unaware of what the Grand Final tasks entail until the final starts at 10am on 16th September. Although some may be afraid of the unknown, Simon is confident in his abilities, stating that although he is unaware of what’s to come, he’s not apprehensive: ‘I’ve done some practise in the run up to the competition, but you can’t really prepare for something you’re unaware of.’
Also strongly confident in his abilities as an operator is Simon’s employer, Mike James of Nasaleze Ltd, who said: ‘We were very pleased for Simon when he won a place in the Grand Final. He really likes to do his best and has worked for us for quite some time.’ Of RTITB’s innovative competition which is now in it’s second year, Mike said: ‘I think the competition is a great thing for industry. It sets a standard that no one else in industry is setting and someone who is willing to set these standards is someone worth referring to.’
Simon was one of hundreds of operators from across the UK and Ireland who entered the competition and completed an online skill test. Following the success of this initial round, Simon was then shortlisted as a Grand Finalist, being placed in the Scottish finals, being a resident of Isle of Man. The competition has been a great way for skilled operators like Simon to apply their knowledge of lift truck operating and provides an opportunity to meet fellow operators and the RTITB team. Simon divulged that he only applied to enter the competition via the online testing stage for ‘a bit of fun’, but said that he would recommend the competition to other operators within the industry: ‘I was really impressed with the level of organisation and precision that had been applied in the structure of the National Final and would definitely recommend it to other forklift truck operators.’
The Grand Final will welcome back all 10 National Finalists who will complete 8 tests in order to be crowed RTITB Operator of the Year 2011 and win the grand prize of a brand new car.