Some 45 per cent of senior managers in UK forklift truck companies started their careers as an engineering apprentice, according to a survey of British Industrial Truck Association (BITA) members carried out to support National Apprenticeship Week.
BITA is unveiling a new suite of ‘forklift apprentices at work videos’ to help promote the image of forklift trucks and engineering as a career choice for young people.
“A proper apprenticeship is not merely a training course, but instead a true career path leading right to the top,” said BITA president Tim Waples.
Waples, who is UK director and general manager of Doosan Industrial Vehicle UK, started his career with an apprenticeship.
“It’s vital that we engage with employers and colleges to promote the opportunities that are available to pursue satisfying and rewarding careers.”
BITA launched the BITA Academy in November. “There is a tangible need for fresh blood in the forklift industry,” said secretary-general James Clark.
“The existing engineer workforce is ageing and retiring faster than new recruits are coming in. With an estimated 250,000 lift trucks currently operating in the UK, playing a vital role in the supply chains that maintain our modern world, we must be able to maintain safe and efficient operation.”
Since launch the BITA Academy has recruited 15 Level 2 apprentices, 23 Level 3 apprentices, and 15 Level 4 apprentices, sponsored by companies such as Jungheinrich and Barloworld.
The BITA Academy is one in a series of initiatives from BITA and its UK counterpart, the FLTA, providing forklift truck engineering options to suit the full range of companies and students, accommodating every type of business that needs to maintain fork lift trucks.