AEPMA Presidents Report December 2013

Now that we are into our busy season, most pest management businesses will be reviewing their position as employers and the choices they have made, or should have made, in relation to employment of Technicians. Under-skilled and under-performing Technicians will be struggling with the increased pressure and workload. Smaller businesses or one man operators may be considering hiring a Technician or Trainee to help out as they grow and struggle with the increased work load at this time of the year. Mid-sized companies that have traditionally relied upon seeking out and employing trained and experienced Technicians are also finding that the quality, experience and suitability of candidates is less than satisfactory, or they simply do not receive any applicants for the positions.

At National office and at State branch level, we are constantly hearing from members about totally inexperienced ex-employees starting businesses and offering services to consumers they are not qualified or assessed as competent to deliver, and the problem seems compounded by our various licencing departments that appear to “make exceptions” or a minority few rogue RTO’s that are lax in their assessment of these trainee technicians against the required competency for licencing.

As a result of this situation some confidence by our industry and AEPMA has been lost with “the system”.

AEPMA has identified that this issue was not in the best interests of our industry and has elevated this as a priority project.

This comes timely, as we have been notified that early in 2014 all of our competencies will be reviewed and that a consultation process will take place between AEPMA (representing the entire industry) and the consultant responsible for implementing any changes that we wish to include. In other words, any changes, improvements or loopholes that AEPMA want to close can be and will be, and AEPMA will not compromise on any point that lowers the standard or is not in the best interest of the industry in the long term.

To this end AEPMA arranged a private meeting in Sydney in early November for a select but broad cross section of member pest management companies only, that are concerned with the current training and assessment system, to find out exactly what the industry wants and needs.

In the afternoon of this meeting, we invited the key RTO’s and trainers from our industry to attend and discuss or hear from us as an industry and consumers of training, and to share our “vision” for industry training.

The good news is that both AEPMA and the quality RTO’s are all on the same page and have already commenced the review, re-writing and strengthening of both the key competencies and assessment criteria as a collaboration project, and we expect this part to be close to completion in early 2014.

However, probably the biggest conclusion that came from the meeting, both from the select pest managers and the RTO’s, is the importance of the Employer in the entire process of training.
The Employer is actually the most important element in the training of pest management technicians, and the person responsible for poorly trained technicians in our industry, whether this is from poor initial recruitment, in field training, supervision, monitoring, access or leave to attend training, and/or continually tolerating sub-standard employees, that we do not act in the best interests of their companies or the industry.

AEPMA’s vision and mission on this is to both develop and assist members to create a “Training Culture” and assist members in any way they can in the employment and training of new or trainee technicians.

This is a ‘turning point’ issue for our industry and I believe that as Employers and an industry we need to get our act together and share some of the elements and lessons learned in recruiting, training and retaining quality Technicians for the benefit of the industry as a whole and make a stand to not tolerate the low quality and inappropriate training and recruitment that is common in our industry.

Anyone wishing to assist in this area or anyone that has sound, well thought through ideas, we would love to hear from you, so don’t hesitate to contact us via National office or your State Branch.

Until next edition,

David Gay W.R. Gay Pest Control Melbourne