Pest Animal Controller (PAC) Training Project

Introduction

The Implementation Steering Committee (ISC) initiated a Pest Animal Controller (PAC) Training Project to establish a national minimum training standard for PACs. The proposed training program includes all aspects of best practice management and the various control tools. This will provide a mechanism for the recognition of a wild dog control profession. The agreed skill set will also give confidence to employ control officers from outside local communities and across state/territory borders.

The training project ran from 2016 to 2017 and contained four elements:

  1. Developing content to meet stakeholder agreed best practice and industry needs
  2. Establishing a pathway for a nationally recognised qualification in mainland states and territories
  3. Facilitating training delivery of three pilot programs to progressively fine-tune the delivery and content
  4. Establishing an evaluation framework for use in future training.

The Team

  • Michele Jackson, Project Manager and Facilitator
  • Stuart Boyd-Law, Subject Matter Expert and Training Delivery
  • Jenny Carroll, Support Officer and Training Resource Review

Following a desktop analysis of current vertebrate pest management course delivery and associated resources in each state and a Training and Extension Working Group (workshop, course content was refined).

Content development

An important PAC Training Project objective is to develop nationally consistent training resource materials. Current Registered Training Organisations – NSW Department of Primary Industries Tocal Agricultural College; Federation Training; and WA Central Regional TAFE were very generous in sharing their resources.

The project team updated and integrated a range of learning and assessment resources including the Animal Trapping and Firearms Manuals and associated assessment instruments. The Community Engagement unit BSBPMG418A Apply project stakeholder engagement techniques will become an accredited course and it has been agreed by the extension working group members that this course must be part of the national delivery suite.

Content maintenance

The Centre for Invasive Species Solutions (CISS) has been identified as a suitable repository for resources and quality control requirements. As a component of the Invasive Animals CRC Community Engagement Project, a portal is being established to assess and register suitably qualified trainers for delivery of the Stakeholder Engagement short course. The same process and principles may be applied to the PAC Training Project suite of resources and associated trainers.

Pilot Delivery

Linking the pilot program to the separate but connected Invasive Animals CRC Community Engagement Project has necessitated some movement in the pilot delivery dates, as outlined in the table below.  Pilots were held in February 2017 in Gippsland and Melbourne for 10 combined Victorian and SA trainees, in March 2017 in Paterson, NSW, for 10 NSW and Queensland trainees and in April 2017 in Carnarvon, WA for 5 WA trainees. Federation Training, Tocal Agricultural College and Central Regional TAFE were the delivery Registered Training Organisations.

Skills Impact review of accredited pest management course

In parallel with the pilot training was the review by Skills Impact of the content and competencies for the Certificate III in Pest Management which involved some SCG members. The National Wild Dog Management Coordinator, Greg Mifsud also participated in this review and provided the following report.

The content and competencies for the now Certificate III in Rural and Environmental Pest Management were reviewed by a working group comprising Greg Mifsud (National Wild Dog Management Coordinator), Geoff Power (SCG Chair), plus Registered Training Organisations from WA, Victoria and NSW.  The course name was changed to differentiate Urban Pest Management from the focus of this qualification which is pests in larger landscapes that impact agriculture and environmental assets.

As with all adult education courses delivered by registered training organisations, this course has been packaged in line with national guidelines.  Participants can choose from 3 streams:

  • pest animal management (including wild dogs)
  • weed control
  • a mix of both for those wanting broad skills across both professions.

All streams include the same mandatory core competencies which provide a general understanding of pest management principles, plus elective competencies required to obtain the certificate.

The expectations within the National Wild Dog Action Plan were for a Wild Dog Controller specific course, however, this is not possible under the national guidelines and packaging rules for adult education as course packaging rules must provide flexibility for employers to decide which qualification they require a person to be trained in.

A gap identified by the National Wild Dog Action Plan was the irrelevance of the two chemical competencies to the use of vertebrate pesticides. A new competency ACHPMG3XX Apply Poison Baits for Rural and Environmental Pest Animal Control is being validated in the hope that could streamline the accreditation process and might increase adoption and access to those vertebrate pesticides.

The Skills Impact reviewers sought final comments and validation of the course structure and SCG members were asked for their feedback.

To provide the national consistency expressed in NWDAP, registered training organisations delivering this qualification will use the NWDAP Pest Animal Controller Pilot material. The Skills Impact review has significantly tightened up the lesson plans and assessment criteria so trainers must keep the subject matter directly related to the teaching material.

The outcome of the Skills Impact review will inform the next phase of the NWDAP under the Stage 3 activities funded by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.

The National Wild Dog Action Plan is an industry initiative endorsed by Government.

Last updated: May 17, 2018