At the invitation of Professor Nick Burgess (tutor) and Mr Geoff Jones (team leader) the NPTA was asked to visit the College and see the way they had prepared a revamp for the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health's Certificate in Pest Control.
On Thursday 27th February 2003 on behalf of the Association I attended the College and received a most warm welcome and their gratitude for taking time out to visit their college and for travelling so far.
The meeting commenced with a summary by Mr Geoff Jones of Bicton College's ideas behind trying to promote to the fullest their revamped RSPH Course based upon eight days of tuition and practical work followed on the second Thursday with the RSPH examination. Generally courses at Bicton College attract the South West, South and South Wales regions. Because the college provides many courses for hundreds of full-time students this means all Pest Control courses are held in the college's vacation periods. Geoff who had only been in post for twelve months as their new team leader within their School of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Engineering, and came over as a most enthusiastic person
Professor Burgess then outlined the course mentioning the different tutors including Adrian Meyer as the main tutor and assisted by Clive Boase and how they have already developed and included much practical work. Firstly, they had a farm/s where much practical site work including survey work could be undertaken; secondly, along with a large hotel and restaurant complex near Exeter where they had permission to go into the kitchens and storage areas for both rodent and insect training. In addition, with the assistance of their own Bicton College kitchens and surrounding land they had plenty of practical teaching areas.
We then generally discussed current Pest Control training, particularly that available from organisations like ADAS and Killgerm Chemicals, plus mentioning how BPC Training had not received approval from the Qualification and Curriculum's Authority (QCA). Ideas were openly discussed about modular training but for now they wished to continue solely with their 8-day course and examinations. It was agreed that if there was sufficient interest a short introductory course for absolute beginners could be put on as well.
This was followed by a visit and inspection of the College site seeing for myself where potential students were accommodated in separate rooms (similar to a University campuses) and the dining areas. I also visited the lecture rooms currently used which were all fitted up with all the modern visual aids including TV and video facilities, plus their library and IT facilities now housed in a very modern complex. Time was not sufficient however to include any IT work within this course. Any laboratory work, such as the use of microscopes for insect identification purposes was brought to the lecture rooms.
Since this report was prepared the NPTA Management Committee has agreed to fully support and wherever possible promote the course both within "Today's Technician" our quarterly journal, on our own Website and wherever else (for example on pestcontrolportal.) and as fliers within any correspondence to our many hundreds upon hundreds of members.
This year, 2003, two courses are being offered one in April (just completed) and another one from 26th August until 5th September. This next course runs from a Tuesday in the first week for four consecutive days, followed by a free week-end, then recommences on Monday again for four days with the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health examination on Friday 5th September.
We certainly believe future Pest Control Technicians with a Bicton College course behind them along with the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health's Certificate in Pest Control have a good future within the UK Pest Control Industry.
For further details along with booking forms please contact "Customer Services" on 01395 562400 or write to Customer Services, Bicton College, East Budleigh, Budleigh Salterton, Devon EX9 7BY.
Report prepared by J. Barrie Sheard FCIEH - Promotions Officer to the NPTA