A WAREHOUSE worker from Burton is set to compete to be crowned the best forklift truck driver in Britain.
The Road Transport Industry Training Board’s operator of the year competition, which takes the form of a series of challenges, will be held at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham later this month.
Darren Taylor, 29, who lives in Stapenhill, said: “The competition is a bit like the television show The Crystal Maze, but for forklifts.
“It’s like an assault course we have to do while driving a fork-lift truck.”
The competition includes challenges called ‘King Tut’s tomb’, ‘goldmine’ and ‘treasure hunt’.
Of the 40 forklift drivers due to compete in Birmingham, the 10 highest scorers will go on to the grand final, due to be held in Telford, Shropshire, on September 20.
Mr Taylor was working at the Boots warehouse on Burton’s Centrum 100 business park when he was invited to take part in the competition.
He said: “When I worked at Boots, they did a re-test (of forklift abilities) to make sure I was up to grade.
“Afterwards I was contacted to ask whether I would like to take part in the operator of the year competition.
“I was quite shocked really. This was only a week or two ago.
“I’ve been looking the competition up online so I know the kind of things people have had to do in previous competitions.”
Mr Taylor, originally trained by Front Row Storage Limited, has held a forklift truck licence since 2001.
He said: “I am very conscious of health and safety. Sometimes you can’t avoid accidents, that’s just the nature of the job, but there’s a lot you can do to improve safety.
“I’ve been driving forklifts pretty well, I’d say, because I’m a stickler for health and safety. A workman is only as good as his tools.”
Mr Taylor will compete in the tournament’s second heat on March 21.
The winner of September’s grand final will take home a brand new car. Two runners-up will win £2,000 of holiday vouchers and £1,000 of shopping vouchers.