So you think you know all about herbicides?

The PCA always seeks ways to help its members achieve the highest standards in their sector and through our training courses and qualifications, we have always tried to help set benchmarks for knowledge and competence. UK legislation also imposes duties on employers to provide appropriate training to meet safety standards etc.

We know most PCA members have staff who are well qualified, but sometimes those qualifications can use a bit of a ‘polishing-up’……. and this is where the PCA Training team have stepped up to help!

PCA’s NEW & FREE Herbicides course

From May 2021, we will be launching our NEW & FREE (for PCA members) “Safe and Sustainable Use of Herbicides” course. This is tailored CPD training for those working in the Invasive Weed sector to not only develop knowledge but ensure standards are upheld. What’s more, this adds another valuable course to our online training portfolio.

Strict adherence to standards

Since the 1980s UK pesticide legislation has always been clear about the need for professional, trained, and competent operatives. So, all our Invasive Weed Control Group (IWCG) members have to ensure that staff using herbicides and fungicides etc., meet the Government’s national criteria for competence delivered by designated bodies National Proficiency Tests Council (NPTC) (now part of City & Guilds Land Based Services) and Lantra.

This requirement was re-enforced recently via the ‘Plant Protection Products (Sustainable Use) Regulations 2012’ and Section 2 of the current PPP Code of Practice confirms who needs a Certificate of Competence – essentially any Professional or Industrial Use product with a MAPP Registration number.

These statutory requirements for minimal levels of training etc., reflect the Government’s and the wider public’s perceptions regarding pesticides. These compounds are designed to harm living things and we must therefore use them sparingly (justify their use in the first place having considered all non-chemical alternatives) avoiding any potentially negative impacts to users, their clients, the public and the environment.

So how can the PCA help?

Interestingly the Defra Code of Practice makes a ‘recommendation’ for Continuous Professional Development (CPD) and signposts schemes that are geared-up for the bigger user groups i.e., mainly agricultural. But member feedback suggests these schemes are not tailored to the needs of Invasive Weed Control practitioners so the PCA has decided to act to ‘plug the gap’ and enable its members to comply with their legal obligations.

This is also timely as PCA membership includes access to the Amenity Standard – a sector-specific initiative enabling contractors to demonstrate their adherence to ‘best practice’ in the use of herbicides. The scheme demands clear evidence that technicians achieve CPD points in relation to PA1/PA06 knowledge and skills.

Coming soon to a screen near you….

Utilising the PCA’s new on-line training facilities, the “Safe and Sustainable Use of Herbicides” course is designed to appeal to all involved in Amenity weed management. The primary target audience is already qualified technicians (so they can refresh their knowledge and skills) but we also hope that admin/surveyor staff will find it a useful introduction to herbicides and their use.

We think this is a great way to access this core training as the remote format enables candidates to complete the modules at their own pace, either in an office or home environment.

What will the FREE course cover?

The course will ‘cover the bases’ already established within the NPTC/Lantra framework, but is not intended to be a re-run. We have tailored the content towards what may have changed over the last few years and the focus will be on ‘Sustainable Use’, which is at the centre of the National Action Plan for pesticides.

The PCA is keen to ensure that all our Invasive Weed Group Members can access this course by the beginning of May and for the time being, we are offering this FREE CPD training opportunity to members only! More information will follow in the next couple of weeks, so watch this space….

To register your interest, simply get in touch with the Training Team on 01480 400000, or via the button below.

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