Former AEPMA president David Gay OAM (pictured) provides an industry update while current president Vasili Tsoutouras is overseas.

For most pest managers, this summer has been both busy and challenging, with extreme heat in the southern states and unseasonably
wet conditions and flooding again in the north. These challenging environmental conditions and continuing strong demand for pest management services across all sectors, has left many pest managers exhausted by Easter and in need of some more stable conditions and easing of demand.

The AEPMA national office continues to be busy with the various projects in play at the moment. There is a continuous and steady stream of consumer and public enquiries of a broad nature, with the majority being positive, rather than of a complaining nature, as has been all too common in the past. The national office has been handling these calls and enquiries as they come in, which are generally dealt with on the spot, or if they are seeking a service or inspection, are directed towards a pest manager who is a member of AEPMA. The process is now reasonably streamlined, allowing our resources to be applied to the many projects that AEPMA is investing in.

Probably one of the most significant tasks at the moment is the review of our training packages. A consultation process is currently being undertaken by Artibus to ensure that all stakeholders can have their input regarding the training needs of our next generation of pest technicians. This is timely as AEPMA is also working on a Code of Practice for training in the pest management industry. Whilst this Code is not intended to replace competency- based training and assessments, it sets out the best practice roles and responsibility of employers, training managers, supervisors and mentors.

The Code of Practice also serves as a reference for pest management trainees to help them understand their learning responsibilities and inputs, and what they should be getting out of the training and mentoring process. With training, employment and retention of staff being the biggest issue facing our industry, we as an industry association need to be constantly and continuously involved in this space.

As mentioned previously in Professional Pest Manager, the new Field Biologist qualification offered by AEPMA is now up and running. The initial course has been reviewed and some minor amendments will be made to better meet future needs. Word has spread quickly about the course, mainly in the food industry and HACCP circles. The fact that AEPMA-qualified field biologists can be engaged to undertake the audits and risk assessments necessary for the standard operating procedures that allow businesses to maintain compliance with customer requirements e.g. HACCP, Coles, etc, has been well received.

The issue of health and safety compliance within the food industry continues to grow and become more complex. AEPMA’s Field Biologist certification will benefit all professional pest managers working in this sector as it provides them with an authoritative, expert voice to implement best practice and complying pest management procedures – important when challenging the sometimes unrealistic and impractical requirements of clients.

The innovation and development of best practice procedures in the Australian pest management industry has not gone unrecognised in the region. As a result, we are in a position to lead the development of pest control in the region and bene t from the export of our skills and services and the subsequent growth that results.

AEPMA president Vasili Tsoutouras and national executive director Stephen Ware recently visited the United Arab Emirates for the NPMA Pestworld East convention. Mr Tsoutouras is representing both Australia and China in his role as FAOPMA president elect and as our Australian national President while Mr Ware is representing both AEPMA and FAOPMA. The close relationships with our our regional neighbours, including China, is something that all Australian Pest managers should be proud of and viewed as a positive step towards strengthening our own pest management industry.

David Gay OAM
AEPMA Board member and former AEPMA president

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