Forklift training history

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The start of the five day training course and the politics associated with it

Pallet truck training

So I got stuck into my three boxes provide by RTITB. Most of the contents was truck manufacturer’s sales literature a lot of which I dumped. I found a single page training course for counterbalance truck operators written up by the training department at Joseph Lucas, the automotive electric components suppliers to the motor industry. Unfortunately the author did not know much about fork lift tucks.

I found a 10 day training course expertly written by the Royal Army Ordnance Corps for the training of military personnel employed in Storage Depots who would be trained to operate Reach and Counterbalance trucks and powered pedestrian operated Pallet trucks which I knew would be useful and a couple of films.

One film was “The Innocent Things” by Lansing Bagnal and the other was “The Colour of Danger” by The Caterpillar company. I arranged to view both of them and decided that The Innocent Things was too sales orientated to be used as a training aid, but the Colour of Danger was excellent.

Then the next day I went to see Mr Fortnam and showed him the army training course and explained that operators trained to use all 3 types of truck would be very employable. He agreed and told me to go ahead and write it up in civilian language. He then told me that he had commissioned the Industrial Training Research Unit (ITRU) at Cambridge University to design a trainability test for fork truck operators. He explained briefly what a trainability test was and how useful it would be at time of interview.

He then said he was appointing me as the lead instructor to assist the ITRU into their research and had made an appointment for me to meet them the next week on Tuesday at their centre in Cambridge. I was to travel by train and taxi.

So I set about rewriting the army training course and I was introduced to a Technical Writer, Bob who explained that whatever I wrote went to him and he prepared my text for printing. He proved to be extremely helpful. On Friday morning I presented the rewritten 10 day course to Mr Fortnam who immediately sent it off to be copied and distributed to the Assessment committee.

Close to lunchtime he called me to his office to tell me that the committee had thrown it out. He should have known, and told me, that the maximum grant available for training operators on any type of plant was 5 days so a 10 day course for operators would not be accepted by the Ministry of Labour. Only Instructor training was eligible for 10 days grant.

Apparently grant was payable on a daily rate that was the same for all Industrial Training Boards and the number of days claimable had been decided by the Ministry of Labour. He apologised and told me to write up a syllabus of 5 days duration that would fit either Reach or Counterbalance truck operator training and to make sure that I filled the 5 days so that employers could achieve the maximum grant available. Pop off home for the weekend and start on Monday morning when you will be assisted by our second instructor. Remember you are going to Cambridge on Tuesday and your committee meet on Thursday.

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