For PA6 (AW) certificate

From February sprayer operators will be able to gain their PA6 (AW) certificate remotely via a web-based training initiative from Progreen Weed Control Solutions.

Launched in response to the impact of coronavirus restrictions, the qualification gives operators the competency to spray in settings that include water bodies such as lakes or ponds, and watercourses.
Distributor Progreen delivers both conventional classroom-based training on safe use of pesticides and e-learning courses across many of the sectors it serves.

“The impact of Covid has prompted us to adapt our approach to training,” says trainer and assessor Richard Wheatcroft, head of Progreen’s technical, training and sales team, who will be delivering the PA6(AW) e-learning package.

“It always makes more sense for operators to complete PA6 (AW) as it completely future proofs you for all knapsack spray applications,” he continues.

Lockdowns and tiered restrictions have helped providers such as Progreen push the land-based industry forward immensely, he adds, “and by working with manufacturers and examining boards we have been able to place remote training and education on a fresh footing”.

The PA1 qualification went online last year and Progreen is said to be the first commercial business to offer the Lantra remote training and assessment for PA1 Safe Use of Pesticides – the obligatory entry level for sprayer operators.

Running online courses allows the company to support trainees if they need it, Richard stresses. “The training is run primarily for a qualification officially designated as a `Certificate of Competence` in pesticide training – PA6 (knapsack) being the most popular.”

The web-based classroom courses are supported with real-time instruction and demonstrations using equipment such as cutouts of Cooper Pegler sprayers. Video clips of operating tips from equipment and Powerpoint presentations further aid training delivery. 

“Assessment will still need to be conducted one on one,” Richard explains, “and can be organised at our head office or the candidate can organise themselves at a suitable place for them.”

The company is seeking to further enhance the appeal and versatility of its web-based classroom learning by offering PA6 (knapsack) and PA2 (tractor boom spraying) by remote training via multiple online platforms.

“We will enhance this remote learning method by equipping candidates with a detailed workbook in advance,” Richard says, “providing full instructions about necessary equipment and methods for practising the hands-on elements, in their own time, ahead of the online training.

“The trainer will then be on hand to run through the training workbook, utilise inset videos and photos during the training, ask questions and provide the personal touch by answering any candidate questions raised during practice."

The company also runs knapsack maintenance sessions for corporates in the same way as PA6 and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for those who want to update their staff and ensure safety, while nematode e-learning is delivered in association with Lantra.

BASIS-qualified technical advisors are on hand to discuss pesticide choices and to run through knapsack spraying equipment questions after training finishes. 

“We can also co-ordinate an assessor to attend candidates and to guide them in the assessment process,” Richard confirms.

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