Forklift training history

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Leading up to the involvement of RTITB

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Fork Lift Trucks are ubiquitous and found in almost all industries and the decision about which Training Board should be responsible for Operator and Instructor Training Standards was eventually given to the Road Transport Industry Training Board (RTITB) together with Cold storage Warehousing.

Unfortunately it was given to them after their Board of Directors had been appointed so no one at board level knew anything about fork lift trucks. They gave the responsibility to a Divisional Manager Mr Fortnam, (Gerry), who had just completed 12 years service as a fairly senior officer in the Royal Navy.

Prior to joining the navy his family had owned a very large furniture retail outlet and he had spent a lot of time as a youth working in that industry. He was responsible for Furniture Removals training standards. Alas he knew little or nothing about fork lift trucks or cold storage so he quickly appointed a team of assessors to root out what training if any was taking place and he did an excellent job and built a first class model of a fork truck training facility at the RTITB’s training centre where the RTITB had purchased a disused RAF World War 2 Bomber Airfield at a place call High Ercall in Shropshire which they call Multi Occupational Training & Education Centre (MOTEC) Later to be renamed CENTREX. (Webmaster: I used to live very close to MOTEC and have spent many a happy hour in their freezing cold facilities).

At this centre they offered a huge variety of training courses for anything remotely associated with the Road  Transport Industry, from garage apprentices who were housed on site, lorry, bus and coach driving instructors who, in addition to providing training standards were having to work closely with the DVLA who were introducing new driver licencing laws.

Up until then one could drive any size of lorry, bus or coach on their car driving licence. They even had courses for scrap car dealers and of course furniture removers and export packers. Fork lift trucks and furniture removers were housed in one third of a huge unheated Bomber Hanger. They obviously offered comprehensive training in each discipline from Management down so on any one day, 25 to 30 different courses would be taking place.

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