BITA Academy – the industry-led organisation that delivers apprenticeships in materials handling equipment (MHE) engineering – has announced that it will now be known as F-TEC (Forklift Training Engineering Centre).
The name change is part of a wider overhaul of the apprenticeship provider's operation that includes the opening of the UK's first dedicated lift truck engineer training centre, where the next generation of UK forklift truck service engineers will receive the highest levels of industry-focused skills training and mature engineers can upgrade their knowledge to ensure that they keep pace with the industry's increasingly rapid technological advances.
Karl Baum, a Director of F-TEC, comments: "We feel that the name F-TEC better reflects our broad remit to serve the interests of both the British Industrial Truck Association (BITA) and the Forklift Truck Association (FLTA) – both of whom are founding partners in F-TEC."
"Our principal aim is to provide a steady stream of qualified service engineers with the technical, academic and interpersonal skills needed to represent the companies whose forklift trucks and other MHE are the backbone of Britain's retail and manufacturing economies."
Karl Baum continues: "The forklift truck industry has long been aware of the need to encourage more school leavers and other young people to enter the industry as service engineers. We estimate that sustaining the number of qualified engineers available to the industry at their present level requires a minimum of 200 fully qualified engineers to graduate every year. Our intention is to provide at least this amount."
F-TEC's training centre will open its doors to its first group of apprentices in July 2016.
Based in Swindon, the 5,000 sq. ft. facility features lecture theatres and a workshop area, where apprentices will gain practical experience across a broad range of forklift brands and model types while established engineers will be taught the specific new skills required by their employers.
"Establishing our own training centre really is a game-changer," says Operations Director, Tiffany Jenkins. "We now have our own full-time team of training personnel which ensures that all apprentices that pass through our Swindon Training Centre receive the same uniformly high standard of education and are perfectly prepared to enter the industry, while those more mature engineers can upgrade their skill sets by attending bespoke training courses overseen by experts that meet the changing mechanical demands of the industry."
F-TEC's apprenticeship programmes and other courses for established engineers are designed to provide the best experience for students and their employers.