Keith Farrow of Rapid Solutions explains the group and individual benefits of professional pest management training.

As an individual, training enables you to become a licensed pest manager and encourages you to continually improve as a professional. As an employer, you want well-trained employees.

Ultimately, training provides not only competency and work-readiness, but also importantly, a sound knowledge that provides customers with great outcomes, while you grow and improve as technicians and/or business owners.

Trainers will always say that training is important. That is a given. However, most recently, AEPMA has reinforced ongoing training as an important element for the entire industry.

Every state and territory in Australia has a requirement for urban pest managers to be licensed and all licences are underpinned by the Australian units of competence. For the majority of states and territories the basic units required are:

• CPPPMT3005 Manage pest without applying pesticides

• CPPPMT3006 Manage pests by applying pesticides

• CPPPMT3018 Maintain equipment and pesticide storage area in pest management vehicles

The pest industry generally knows these as units 5, 6 and 18. You may also know that the training and assessment requirements of these units of competence were reviewed and updated in late 2015.

The current training package had input from the industry via AEPMA. Industry input saw additional learning material and knowledge requirements added. There were also significant changes in the assessment requirements.

To be assessed as competent, means a person has to meet the training package requirements. It also means that the person is ready for work and can do standard pest management tasks confidently, without supervision and meet customer and industry needs.

The assessment for the new competency units requires that an applicant be assessed on the treatment of specific pests at three different properties. The specified pests are cockroaches, ants, spider and rodents. The old units did not specify any number of treatment sites and the old units did not mention specific pests. The package means a trainee will have to demonstrate repeated competency at a set of tasks over a number of different properties. If done appropriately this should give the assessor, the trainee and the industry confidence in the training process, the assessment process and more importantly the trainee. Like most industries, many in the pest sector challenge the volume of training that is required.

In the sector, it is a well-known fact that a good proportion of new technicians will leave the industry within the first year, often saying they did not have a sound understanding of their job. We also know that a significant number of new technicians will run their own pest control business within a few years.

Good technicians and good competition start with good training.

As mentioned, AEPMA has played a leading consultative role in the revision of the pest management training package and is now focussing on developing a Code of Practice for training in the pest management industry.

Good training and sound learning takes time. The current training package is an improvement and if used correctly, should lead to confident and competent new entrants to the industry.

If you have concerns about training speak with your training provider. You can also speak with the industry body – AEPMA. If you are very concerned, you have access to Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), the vocational education governing body.

Keith Farrow, Rapid Solutions

Keith Farrow is the Chief Technical Officer with Rapid Solutions. Rapid Solutions is a leader in insurance solutions for the pest management, building inspection, agricultural pest and weed control sectors in Australia and New Zealand. Rapid Solutions also provides technical advice and industry recognised training solutions for this sector.

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