Now that the AEPMA Conference is behind us, we can return our focus to the projects and initiatives that are at the core of AEPMA’s purpose.

The “big one” that will ultimately make a huge impact on our industry in the future in a positive way, is the review of the ‘training package’ in both the learning content and how the assessments are undertaken and under what conditions.

We are happy with the progress so far, and in talking to some of our industry partners in the training sector, they also see advantages and accept that the current system does have some ‘holes’ that have been exploited by some training organisations and employers, so closing these gaps will ultimately result in better trainers and assessors, and equally as important, better employer engagement with both their trainers and the training organisation.

The membership of AEPMA has been voicing it’s concern for a number of years now, about both the quality of some trainers and assessors and how quickly people, either new the industry, or people not working in the industry and without any experience or mentorship whatsoever, can obtain Units 5, 6 & 18 in as little as 3 days in some instances, and then obtaining a licence without any real experience.

The review of the training package will go part way to addressing these issues. In turn, the new framework is likely not to suit some RTO’s and their existing business model, so they will be faced with the challenge of complying or exiting training and assessment for our industry. This in turn, will mean that the RTO’s that are truly committed to our industry and providing high quality outcomes aligned with the industry’s needs, will succeed.

However, the training and assessment package and the RTO’s that will be entrusted to deliver and meet our training needs, is only half of the solution in meeting our industry’s future needs. The employers, mentors and in-house trainers are as equally important, if not more so.

In fact, anecdotal evidence suggests that in the majority of situations, the employer’s failure to adequately supervise the trainee over an extended period of time, and exposure to a variety of actual in field “real situations” has a direct impact on the quality of the trainee.

So it’s understandable that those that gain entry into our industry via the ‘back door’, so to speak, without any real in field training or supervision, are causing a lot of confusion for the established professionals and those that do the right thing and do it the right way. They are asking, ‘How does this happen?’ And it needs to be stopped.

Hopefully by working together with the RTO’s that support our industry, and the employers, to ensure they do their bit in recruiting better, supervising better, and investing the time into new trainees, we will solve some of these issues and return to an era when a Pest Control Technician “knew his stuff”.

On another issue, but directly relating to skills and technicians, the AEPMA website is building in ‘rankings’ and the number of consumer searches, especially to the ‘Find a Pest Manager’ page, and increasingly in regional and rural areas.

I would strongly recommend that all AEPMA members log on and look at your listing to ensure you are properly represented in the types of service you offer and the area or regions you service (by postcode). Every member has been set a default number of 10 postcodes per technician registered, based on the number of technicians you indicated were working in the business. One of the big features of this lead generation database is that members can change or nominate any postcodes or regions, and even acquire additional postcodes and regions at a very small fee, simply by logging on and editing their profile.

If you are having any trouble with this, or are not confident you can navigate the ‘edit function’ of your profile, don’t hesitate to contact national office and we can guide you through the process.

The more accurate your profile, the more work you are likely to win by consumers either checking that you are a member of AEPMA, or from the increasing number of consumers that find peace of mind and security in only using trades and service providers that are part of, and backed by, an industry association.

As most of us are now looking forward to the next few months and a lead up to Christmas, all the indicators are pointing to a “good season” across all States and I am personally looking forward again to the Summer chaos of trying to fit everyone and everything in.

Good luck!
Until next time.

David Gay