The British Industrial Truck Association (BITA) and City of Bristol College today announce a new strategic partnership, with the aim of ensuring the continued availability of qualified engineers for the forklift truck industry, while also widely boosting awareness of valuable engineering career opportunities for young people. By working together, BITA and City of Bristol College have created two much-needed services.

First of all, a BITA Programme Training Manager has been appointed to create a management link between the academic community and the materials handling sector, which currently does not exist. This is an independent post with a brief to work with schools to attract new apprentices, explore opportunities for securing Government funding, manage the volume of applicants, liaise with employers and maintain quality levels. Karl Baum, City of Bristol College’s Business Development Manager in Transport & Engineering Technology, will be heading up the operational team. His task will be supported by extensive communications materials, not least a promotional film that will depict the concept of the partnership, promote the industry and the commitment of its members, whilst also highlighting the career opportunities that exist. This film will be distributed to websites of targeted schools and colleges.

Secondly, a new training facility, the BITA Academy, will be created at the City of Bristol College’s Transport Technology for Fork Lift Truck facility on the Parkway campus, north of Bristol. Apprentices pursuing the College’s Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) accredited Diploma in FLT engineering may now graduate with a unique BITA-branded ‘IMI Quality Assured’ certificate. Recruitment will begin in December 2011.

“We need to see significant numbers of apprentices joining the forklift engineering sector to replace retiring employees, if we want to reverse our current ageing profile,” comments Tim Waples, President of BITA. “That’s why we committed to create an Industry Apprentice Manager at our AGM in May 2011. Thanks to a great deal of hard work by BITA Board member Bill Goodwin who has led this project, we have negotiated a partnership with City of Bristol College that has met – and exceeded – our goals.”

“This is a very significant new partnership, at a time of great need but also a great opportunity,” comments Karl Baum from City of Bristol College. “Evangelising the breadth and depth of challenges available in industry presents a challenge I shall relish in the months ahead.”

City of Bristol College is the UK’s largest training centre for the forklift truck industry, with all students working exclusively on forklift products. Course programme content will be tailored specifically for BITA and its members, delivered by a structured training team using dedicated workshops and branded course materials. Candidates will be welcomed from all companies (BITA and non-BITA members).

The BITA Programme Training Manager will report to BITA and will have joint responsibility to BITA and Bristol College in order to meet the objectives of the role. The College’s National Assessors will provide essential support to BITA members’ workplaces and BITA will draw upon a dedicated and experienced Contract Manager, David Duckett, who will be responsible for the effective delivery of the BITA apprentice courses.

Finally, a dedicated email address has been created to handle any requests for further information:


James Clark, Secretary General

Tel: 01344 623800


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