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Toyota Acknowledges Top National Forklift Technicians

National Toyota forklift retailer Toyota Material Handling Australia (TMHA) has confirmed its commitment to industry-leading training and service standards with its annual National Skills Contest.

TMHA executive vice president and COO Steve Takacs said the contest, which Toyota has held in Australia for a quarter of a century, was an important investment in its technicians and just reward for their efforts in continually up-skilling.

The Master Technician and Apprentice of the Year will make an educational visit to one of Toyota's global forklift production plants.

"As someone who came into this industry as a technician, it is always an important event for me and especially pleasing to see our branches around the country represented on the list of winners," Mr Takacs said. "The results and the closeness of the contest show off our technicians' high levels of product knowledge and in turn supports our position as the number one forklift brand.

"The National Skills Contest has been proven over many years to support high customer satisfaction rates, with less downtime and increased efficiency for all our business partners.

"The Apprentice of the Year component in particular provides an opportunity for budding technicians to test themselves against the country's best, and allows us to invest in their future and that of the entire TMHA business.

"Toyota pioneered specialised TAFE-level training for forklift technicians in Australia and we aim to maintain that edge," he said.

TMHA invited 15 forklift specialists (nine technicians and six apprentices) to a two-day skills contest final at its Moorebank (Sydney) headquarters, based on written tests from approximately 160 entrants nationally.

The event included a series of practical- and theory-based exercises across the three brands of TMHA equipment: Toyota, BT Lift Truck and Raymond.

Competing technicians chose a brand to specialise in for the practical component and sat an exam encompassing all three brands to determine the winner of the Master Technician award.

The Master Technician of the Year award went to Matthew White from TMHA's Melbourne branch and he also received the award for Raymond Technician of the Year.

The 2017 Apprentice of the Year is Richard Maitland-Smith, from TMHA's Perth branch.

Paul Pritchard from TMHA's Sydney branch is the Technician of the Year for BT products and Adrian Sruhan from TMHA's Brisbane branch is the Technician of the Year for Toyota products.

They accepted their awards from Mr Takacs at a gala dinner on the Gold Coast on June 30.

This year's TMHA National Skills Contest marked the tenth anniversary of adding the Apprentice award. It was introduced when TMHA's Moorebank national headquarters opened in 2007.

Since 2007, the contest has attracted 2369 technician entries and 639 apprentice entries, including one female winner.

2017 TMHA Skills Contest finalists outside the company's Moorebank head office