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Fantastic final with funfair frolics draws to a celebrated close

Thursday, 22 September 2011 ( #532 )
The final three. Click for larger image.
The final three. Click for larger image.
After months of preparation, testing, late nights and cups of tea, the RTITB Operator of the Year 2011 Grand Final kicked off on Friday 16th September to great success.

From the 105,000 qualified counterbalance operators eligible to enter, just 10 made it through to the Grand Final, following the completion of their respective National Finals. In order to fully test the skill and nerve of the competitors, the final consisted of 8 tests; 5 practical, 2 static and 1 theory and in keeping with the structure of the National Finals, the specifications of each test were kept hidden from the competitors until the big day.

Gary Maher - Helter Skelter. Click for larger image.
Gary Maher - Helter Skelter. Click for larger image.
Featuring a bold and vibrant fairground theme, both the competitors and guests were spoilt for entertainment thanks to the range of games, competitions and of course, the 8 tests. The tests, designed by Simon Doherty, Technical Development & Standards Delivery Manager at RTITB, consisted of a series of fun, challenging and imaginatively named tests, including 'Helter Skelter', 'Crazy Ghoul Dual' and 'Hook a Duck'. RTITB also utilised a range of attachments including a carpet boom, double pallet handler, and clamp attachment provided by B&B attachments.

Although each of the competitors enjoyed the light atmosphere the theme provided, the importance of the competition to them was clear to see throughout the day as they put everything they had into each test.

Simon Bottomley - Dodgem
Simon Bottomley - Dodgem
Following the day's events, Jane Willis, Director of Cross-cutting Interventions Directorate of the Health & Safety Executive gave a speech stressing the importance of correct and safe operation, citing just how pivotal the competition is to the industry, before announcing Gary Maher from Jarrow as the 2011 champion. Along with winning the title of Operator of the Year, Gary was also presented with a brand new Toyota Aygo Ice. Gary's achievement proves the importance of working safely and correctly in the workplace and how the only way to operate is the right way. As a competitor in the original 2008 competition,
Colin Price - Carousel Conundrum
Colin Price - Carousel Conundrum
Gary won a place at the Grand Final but unfortunately failed to place in the top three. However, his determination and dedication paid off when he was announced the winner at Friday's awards show, held at Telford Golf & Spa hotel.

Commenting on his win, Gary, who is trained and employed by TNT Express Services UK & Ireland, said: "It still hasn't sunk in yet. I keep turning to my wife and saying 'have we just won a car?' It's all a bit surreal at the moment." First runner up of the competition was Telford local, Colin Price, trained by AES Training Services Ltd and employed by Cables to Go. Colin was hugely surprised to be announced as a runner up and was awarded with £2000 worth of holiday vouchers. Second runner up was awarded to Simon Bottomley from the Isle of Man. Trained by Manx Industrial Training, and employed by Nazaleze, Simon won £1000 worth of shopping vouchers and amazed everyone with his abilities following ankle surgery a few months ago.

The competition was designed to highlight the importance of properly trained operators within the workplace, and the 2011 competition has greatly surpassed the already high standard set by the original competition. In 2008, Ken Saward from Swansea was declared champion, returning for this year's Nationals and Grand Final as a guest judge. The day itself saw an attendance of over 150 people, including the competitors' families, trainers and employers, all of whom were greatly impressed by the level of skill delivered by each of the competitors and have been highly complimentary of what RTITB were able to achieve on the day.

With the competition widely acknowledged as a great success by all in attendance, the only way for the Operator of the Year competition to go from here is onwards and upwards, and RTITB is eager to see how far the competition can go.

About the Competition

The RTITB Operator of the Year Competition gives lift truck operators, their employers and their trainers the chance to showcase excellent training and operating skills. The event is a nationally recognised lift truck safety competition and prides itself on being safety and standards conscious. The competition sets out to acknowledge the hard work and skill that lift truck operators deliver daily in their job, whilst also raising awareness of the need for accredited training. The 3 stages are: an online theory and hazard perception test; national final testing held throughout the UK and Ireland and finally the Grand Final held at RTITB's headquarters in Shropshire. All prizes and trophies at the Grand Final will be awarded by Jane Willis Director of HSE's Cross-cutting Interventions Directorate. The 2nd runner up will receive £1000 of high street vouchers, the 1st runner up will receive a luxury holiday and the champion will receive a brand new car. TNT Express Services UK and Ireland and Toyota Material Handling UK are platinum sponsors of the competition.

2011 Operator of the Year Northern England National Final,
With the RTITB Operator of the Year Grand Final looming, watch some of the highlights from this year's competition so far. This video brings you the highlights from the Northern England National Final


RTITB
The core business of RTITB is the accreditation of materials handling equipment training, an activity carried out under HSE, HSE NI and HSA recognition. We accredit the training provided at over 600 training locations throughout the UK and Ireland and have a register of instructors in excess of 8000, all qualified by examination, along with a register of operators in excess of 250,000. The scope of our accreditation schemes include lift trucks and large goods vehicle as well as bespoke accreditation of equipment used in ports, airports, construction, agriculture, horticulture and by rescue services.

In 2003 RTITB purchased its current headquarters in Telford, Shropshire and established The RTITB Academy which provides Lift Truck and LGV instructor training, in support of its accreditation activity.

RTITB has monitored the development and introduction of the Driver CPC Directive since the late 1990s, resulting in the introduction of the Master Driver Consortium. The consortium already has a 160 strong membership and covers over 200 training locations throughout the UK. The Master Driver Consortium offers a high quality total management solution to the challenges faced by the logistics industry following the introduction of Driver CPC.

RTITB aims to set standards in accreditation and raise the standard of training by modernising training materials and systems. We are Centre for Assessment Ltd registered and operate Quality Management System BS EN 9001:2008 and operate an environmental policy. We will continue to strive for excellence together with the organisations we work with.

For more information click to view the RTITB website.

The National Finals are open to the public; however attendance (via www.rtitb.co.uk/fltcompetition/registertoattend) should be registered in advance as places are limited.
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