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Melbourne Apprentice Wins Toyota Study Trip to Japan

A Melbourne apprentice technician will undertake a study tour to Toyota's forklift manufacturing plant in Japan after winning Toyota Material Handling Australia's (TMHA) annual National Skills Contest.

TMHA has conducted the annual National Skills Contest for more than two decades as part of its commitment to maintaining industry-leading training and service standards.

Joseph Morris from TMHA's Melbourne branch won the coveted 2013 Apprentice of the Year award after two days of theoretical and practical tests at TMHA's Sydney headquarters located in Moorebank.

Travis Childs from TMHA Sydney won the skills contest for Master Technician of the Year and was also named national Technician of the Year for Raymond products (one of the three warehouse brands in the TMHA group).

TMHA Brisbane's Bill Harris claimed the title of national Technician of the Year for Toyota warehouse products.

Shaun Xerri from TMHA Sydney is the 2013 national Technician of the Year for BT products, a title he also won in 2010.

The three Toyota forklift technicians each won a $2000 skills development voucher.

All finalists in the TMHA National Skills Contest receive $300 worth of tools, a framed certificate and a watch.

Two hundred Toyota forklift technicians and apprentices entered the 2013 National Skills Contest.

TMHA's national service manager Steve Barnes said the annual contest is designed to keep Toyota forklift technicians at the cutting-edge of industry standards.

"Toyota has always been at the forefront of forklift technician training in this country - in fact it pioneered specialist TAFE training for Australia's forklift technicians," Mr Barnes said.

TMHA's executive vice president and chief operating officer Steve Takacs said the aim of the National Skills Contest was to challenge each entrant's skills and knowledge against their peers, and to reward those who reach the pinnacle of their profession.

"This annual contest has special interest for me, because I started in this industry 'on the tools' as technician," he said.

"Today, we see the skills contest as having a direct benefit for our forklift customers, because a high skills standard among our technicians increases both customer satisfaction and workplace safety."

Joseph Morris competing in the TMHA National Skills Contest