Toyota Material Handling Australia (TMHA) has inducted a record 13 apprentice forklift technicians in its annual intake, ensuring a solid skills support base for the future.
The national forklift market leader this year received a staggering 878 applications for apprenticeships from around the country, a 75 per cent increase on the 2017 figure.
The 13 new apprentices, accompanied by mentors from their respective TMHA branches, were inducted and received their tools of trade at TMHA's Sydney headquarters in mid-April.
TMHA president and CEO Steve Takacs - who began his career as a forklift technician - was on hand to welcome the inductees.
They also received presentations on Toyota values, company policies and expectations, safety procedures and Toyota history, and a tour of TMHA's extensive national headquarters.
TMHA national technical advisor and trainer Gerry Larney said 13 apprentices was a record annual intake and continues Toyota's commitment to industry leading skills training.
"We currently have 50 apprentices completing their four-year courses across our 17 branches and a total of 450 staff in product support roles," he said.
"TMHA views the apprentice program as a cornerstone in providing the highest levels of product support," he said.
"It is a real investment in our future, as today's apprentices are tomorrow's technicians."
TMHA also conducts an annual national skills contest, open to all technicians and apprentices, with the aim of keeping service staff at the cutting edge of industry standards.
Steve Takacs said Toyota has been at the forefront of forklift technician training for much of the 50 years the company has been selling forklifts in Australia, this is further supported by specialist TAFE and inhouse training programs for Australia's forklift technicians.
"The annual apprentice intake was initiated more than a decade ago to help ensure we have a strong skills base to support our business," he said.
"Having a skilled team of technicians ready to provide high-quality back-up for all Toyota material-material handling equipment is a clear benefit for our customers nation-wide, and part of the Toyota Advantage."