Toyota Material Handling Australia (TMHA) has inducted 9 apprentice forklift technicians in its 2021 Annual Apprentice Intake, a grassroots program fostering a solid skills support base for the future.
The new apprentices, accompanied by mentors from their respective TMHA branches, were inducted and received their tools of trade at TMHA's Sydney headquarters at the end of May.
Following the 2021 Intake, 2020's apprentices will also be formally inducted - previously impossible given COVID-19 restrictions.
The national forklift market leader this year received an impressive 747 applications for apprenticeships from around the country.
TMHA HR officer, Kim Cawood, recruited the apprentice applicants and said she was almost overwhelmed by the numbers. "We had so many in the first week that we had to withdraw many of the advertisements," said Ms Cawood.
"We could have gathered more but we didn't want the intake numbers to be high just for the sake of it. We wanted to ensure we had adequate resources to thoroughly consider them all and keep the review process manageable."
TMHA president and CEO Steve Takacs - who began his career as a forklift technician - was on hand to welcome both sets of inductees.
The apprentices 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 manager - LEAN Management and After Sales Evaluation Cert, Gerry Larney, said 9 apprentices in each year was a healthy number.
"We currently have 42 apprentices completing their four-year courses across our 17 branches and a total of 444 staff in product support roles," said Mr Larney.
"TMHA views the 2021 Annual Apprentice Intake program as a foundation to provide the highest levels of product support," he said.
"It is a real investment in our future, as today's apprentices are tomorrow's qualified and highly skilled technicians."
TMHA also conducts an annual National Skills Contest, open not-only to all technicians but also apprentices, measuring and promoting all service staff to be at the peak of industry standards.
Steve Takacs said Toyota has been at the forefront of forklift technician training for much of the 50-plus years the company has been selling forklifts in Australia and that this is further-supported by specialist TAFE and in-house factory-based training programs for TMHA forklift apprentices.
"The Annual Apprentice Intake program was initiated well-over a decade ago to help ensure we have a strong skills base to support our business and continues Toyota's commitment to industry-leading skills training," he said.
"Having a skilled team of technicians ready to provide high-quality back-up for all Toyota Material- Handling equipment is a clear benefit for our customers."
Toyota factory-trained technicians use the latest diagnostic equipment to ensure a fast, accurate diagnosis. They carry an extensive range of genuine Toyota spare parts to maximise uptime of your equipment, helping to save you time and money.
This commitment to total customer satisfaction extends nationwide, thanks to one of the finest branch networks in Australia.
Mr Larney said the apprentices receive thorough and well-rounded training, with the benefit of skilled mentors providing supervision. Toyota Material Handlings aim is to have each apprentice rotate through every aspect of our service business.
"Our apprentices might be involved in a retail repair workshop, pre-delivery workshop, go to our parts department spend some time in administration activities in the office. Also spending time in our field service, working on many of our corporate customer sites, where they may spend up to three months there. Or they will accompany a service technician in their van to multiple different sites. We give them varied, well-rounded and safe practical training, running in parallel with their TAFE Trade certificate activities."
(Note: due to Covid restrictions 2 apprentice technicians from Melbourne were unable to attend the Sydney induction on the 27 May 2021).
TMHA has inducted a new group of technical apprentices pictured here with TMHA management team