A Brisbane apprentice forklift technician has won an educational tour to Toyota's Takahama forklift manufacturing plant in Japan by taking out the apprentice-technician section. Four Australian technicians are the latest winners in a national competition that has been held for more than two decades.
The skills contest for the fully qualified forklift technicians identified the top specialists on the three warehouse equipment brands within the Toyota Material Handling group - BT Lift Truck, Raymond and Toyota Industrial Equipment.
Lochlann Fenton from TMHA Brisbane won the apprentice technician section. Chris Attard from THMA Sydney won the 2012 Toyota Skills contest, after last year winning the Raymond contest. Andrew Redmore of Toyota Material Handling (VIC) won the BT Skills contest for the second year in a row.
TMHA Sydney's Shaun Xerri completed a full set of skills contests, winning the 2012 Raymond Skills Contest after topping the BT contest in 2010 and the Toyota contest in 2011.
Some 200 Toyota forklift technicians and apprentices entered the 2012 National Skills Contest to decide the nine technician finalists and six apprentice finalists.
The contest began with two forklift-service tests and culminated in a two-day practical and theoretical-based finale at the company's Moorebank (Sydney) headquarters.
"The contest is designed to keep Toyota forklift technicians at the forefront of industry standards," TMHA technical advisor/trainer Gerry Larney said.
"Toyota has always led the way for forklift technician training in this country - and in fact pioneered specialist TAFE training for Australia's forklift technicians."
TMHA chief operating officer Steve Takcas said the aim of the National Skills Contest was to challenge each entrant's skills and knowledge against their peers and to reward those who reach the pinnacle in their profession.
"This annual contest has special interest for me, because I started in this industry 'on the tools' as a technician," Steve said.
"Today, we see the skills contest as having a direct benefit for our forklift customers, because a high skills standard among our technicians increases both customer satisfaction and workplace safety."