With less than a month to go until the RTITB Operator of the Year Grand Final, work is underway to finalise arrangements for what the RTITB is describing as "the greatest Grand Final event yet".
The 10 finalists - chosen following the regional heats held at IMHX 2013 - are practicing in for the chance to win the coveted crown, which comes with the first prize of a new Toyota Aygo.
As well as the car for the eventual champion, prizes will also be awarded to this year’s runners-up, with the first runner up taking home a £2,000 holiday voucher, while the second runner-up will enjoy £1000 of shopping vouchers.
The competition, sponsored this year by Toyota Material Handling UK, TNT Express Services UK and Ireland, and Calor Gas Ltd, began in November last year with an online quiz open to over 300,000 registered operators. The 10 finalists have proved their mettle in getting to the gold-themed final, and will be keen to tackle the final hurdle on the way to the big prize.
From breaking into Fort Knox to dabbling in some Alchemy, and even collecting golden eggs, the finalists will be faced with some of the toughest challenges to date, requiring skill, precision and excellent knowledge of all-round operation.
The 2011 champion, Gary Maher, will return to the compatition, but this time as a judge. Gary set a high standard on his way to the crown last time round, and he believes that the competition brings the work that these operators do into the public domain in a very relevant way.
“It highlights the skills of lift truck drivers in the UK," says Gary. "How these people can control a machine so big in confined spaces, in a safe manner, without damaging goods, is a lot of the time overlooked. It’s good to show people we have some very skilled guys hidden away in the warehouses.”
Open to the general public and businesses alike, the Grand Final is free to attend, and available places are almost gone; please visit www.opofyear.com to book your place.
Competition testing will begin at 10am and finish at 3pm. As well as watching the 10 finalists compete for the big prize, visitors will also be able to enjoy a range of entertainment and activities.
Hypnotist Adam Night will be mesmerising audiences with a ‘gold’ hypnosis show, in keeping with the day’s Grand Final theme, and some lucky guests will win an Amazon Kindle or an iPod Shuffle in various competitions running around the venue throughout the day.
At the conclusion of the day’s competition, Telford Hotel and Golf Resort will host the Grand Final Gala Dinner at which the champion will be announced by our guest speaker, Jane Willis, director of the HSE’s Cross-cutting Interventions Directorate.
You can follow the build-up to the Grand Final on Twitter (@opofyear), or ‘like’ the competition Facebook page at facebook.com/opofyear.