Register set up for amenity horticulture pesticide sprayers

Pesticide sprayers in amenity horticulture are being targeted with a new competence system that could help contractors win more work, says City & Guilds, which launched it this month.

The National Amenity Sprayer Operators Register is a continuing professional development (CPD) initiative that offers recognition of staff who not only pass spraying certificates but keep up to date with new environment and water laws, it said.

Head of business development for land-based services Natalie Jenkins added: "It's like the National Register of Sprayer Operators (NRoSO) for agriculture but aimed at the amenity sector, where operators have to notch up 30 CPD points over three years to stay on the register.

"It shows operators who qualified say 10 years ago are keeping up on new practices, legislation and competence. It could help businesses win more contracts because they can prove staff are bang up to date on all new developments and laws."

The non-mandatory register costs £20 a year. Operators carry a membership card and have access to training events and a website - The NRoSO has 20,000 members and the amenity version could echo this uptake, said Jenkins.

"It's up to contractors and local authorities if their staff register - it's a case of getting the message out and watching it snowball. At present, we run PA1 certification for competence and this adds to it by showing ongoing development of skills."

Amenity Forum chairman John Moverley said: "While being qualified as a spray operator is a requirement, CPD is not mandatory. It is, however, vital for the amenity sector to demonstrate fully its commitment to best practice and safety."

He added: "We have achieved much in a voluntary approach but we must continue this and drive standards up across all parts of our sector. A voluntary approach in this way is much better than the alternative."

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