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Welsh national final runner-up Stephen Roberts looks forward to the impending Operator of the year 2011 grand final

With the RTITB Operator of the Year 2011 Grand Final just weeks away, all 10 Grand Finalists are filled with excitement, adrenaline and anticipation as they await their chance to be declared champion. One competitor in particular who has been experiencing a year of highs is Stephen Roberts, from Wrexham, who will be celebrating his recent marriage whilst also waiting to compete in the Grand Final.

Of the looming final, Stephen said: ‘I’m very excited! Prior to the National Final I hadn’t been on a fork lift truck for around 18 months, so I was pleasantly surprised to win a place in the Grand Final.’ With just 7 weeks to go, Stephen, along with the other 9 grand finalists, is preparing himself for the big day, to be held at the RTITB Headquarters in Telford, Shropshire on 16th September. Concerning his abilities, Stephen said: ‘I’m feeling fairly optimistic for the final. I think I did pretty well in the Nationals, and I’d be pleased to win at least 2nd place. The 2nd prize (£2000 worth of holiday vouchers) will do nicely for my honeymoon!’

With just 2 years working as an operator under his belt, Stephen may not possess the same amount of experience as some of the other competitors. However, Stephen’s level of skill was evident as he was announced as the first runner-up of the Welsh National Final, back in June. Stephen, who was trained by Gatewen Training Ltd, has displayed a great deal of perseverance and determination, which helped him win his place at the final. When asked about his preparation for the event, Stephen said: ‘I haven’t done any as yet, but I’ve asked my boss about doing some at work at some point. I’m also aiming to contact my trainers at Gatewen to get a copy of their ‘bible’ so I can get some thorough revision done!’

Stephen was made aware of the competition via the promotional postcards that were distributed by RTITB to thousands of counterbalance operators across the UK and Ireland. He stated that he applied due to the level of satisfaction he experienced from his training and through the overall enjoyment he gains from fork lift operation. The competition is the first of its kind and has been praised by those within the logistics industry. Stephen stated that he would highly recommend the competition to other operators: ‘I would definitely urge other operators to apply for the competition. Not only were the National Finals a great experience, but they were well planned and prepared. I couldn’t have asked for anything more from my experience so far.’

The Grand Final daytime event is open to the public who can register their attendance via the RTITB website at: www.rtitb.co.uk/fltcompetition. The event is not only a great chance to see some of the best operators from the UK and Ireland in action, but it also presents an opportunity for the public to meet the RTITB team and enjoy the range of activities that will be held throughout the day.

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