**Technicians and apprentices encouraged to register for National Skills Competition**
**National Skills Competition promotes excellent TMHA customer service**
Toyota Material Handling Australia (TMHA) is excited to announce the return of its National Skills Competition, which gives the chance for Toyota forklift technicians and apprentices to hone their skills while competing for valuable prizes.
Beginning in February, the 2023 National Skills Competition marks the first time the contest has been held since 2019, having previously run every year since 2007 for technicians and 2008 for apprentices.
Not only does the contest allow Toyota forklift technicians improve their product knowledge and customer service skills, it also provides winning entrants with valuable cash prizes and a money-can't-buy experience.
The winner of both the technician and apprentice challenges will score a free overseas factory tour to one of Toyota Material Handling's facilities, with possible destinations including Japan, the US and Sweden.
Furthermore, the winning Master Technician walks away with a $5,000 cash prize, while second and third place win $2,000 and $1,000 respectively.
In addition to competing on Toyota forklifts, technicians will also get to compete this year on TMHA's other product ranges including Huski Construction Equipment and allied products such as sweepers, scrubbers and lift platforms.
TMHA lead technical advisor Luke Rowley said the exciting return of the National Skills Competition helps play a big part in TMHA's excellent customer service and knowledge of its technicians.
"One thing that we've noticed is the technicians who enlist in the skills competition year on year - you see the benefits of that in their ability to work under pressure," Mr Rowley said.
"We're looking for the best technicians we have, so the problems that they face and the questions they have to answer are at the high end of the skills range."
Mr Rowley said safety and strong customer service would be important areas for the technicians and apprentices to get judged by, with simulated customer interactions part of the testing.
"A major component we're looking for is that they're doing things in a safe manner. Another major component we're looking for is what their professionalism is like," he said.
The 2023 contest also takes on a new format - previously the competition was split into three different contests representing TMHA's various brands, but all have been combined into a single contest for 2023.
The competition is split into three stages, with as many of the roughly 430 Australian TMHA technicians as possible encouraged to sign up to participate in the voluntary competition. All apprentices are required to participate.
The first stage takes place in February, in which contestants answer 40 online multiple-choice questions about the TMHA products.
An open book test, all answers can be found in the technicians' repair manuals, promoting the use of product manuals to maximise product knowledge.
Following the first test, the cohort of contestants will be whittled down by half to the most successful 50 per cent who will then compete in the second stage of the competition.
The second stage is also an online test, with a mix of multiple choice and long-form answers that help determine the depth of each's technician's knowledge.
Following the second test, the field will be reduced to eight technicians and six apprentices, who will be flown to Sydney to compete at TMHA's Moorebank head office to compete in eight different challenges.
Unlike in previous years, the results of the previous two rounds will contribute to the winner's overall score.
Taking place in May, the final technician challenges will contain a mixture of servicing and repair work covering the entire product range, conducted over the course of two days.
The winning Master Technician will then enter into a mentorship program, assisting apprentices for the next three competition years.
Apprentices compete in a one-day event with support provided as needed by the Adjudicators, making for a great learning opportunity when it comes to working under pressure and dealing with customers.
The National Skills Competition has proven to be a great career springboard for technicians and apprentices to go on to bigger and better things within the company.
Mr Rowley is one such example, being the first winner of the apprentice challenge in 2008. The most recent Master Technician, Matthew White, now leads his own team in Melbourne.
Mr Rowley said he was hoping to drive up participation for 2023, given the lack of an event in previous years and the increased prize money available.
"It's a big year for us to come back - we haven't done it for a few years, there's a new format, there's more prize money on the table, so we're hoping that we're going to get more participation this year," he said.
Having well-trained, professional technicians and apprentices are a vital part of the business for TMHA, and all technicians are encouraged to participate.
The 2023 National Skills Competition begins in February and will run until May 25.
To learn more free-call 1800 425 438 or contact us, here.