Laura Jones1, Peter Fitzsimons2 and Max Wade3
1AECOM, 1 Callaghan Square, Cardiff, CF10 5BT, Wales, UK
2Property Care Association, Hinchingbrooke Business Park, 11 Ramsay Court, Kingfisher Way, Huntingdon, PE29 6FY, England, UK
3AECOM, Wellbrook Court, Girton, Cambridge, CB3 0DA, England, UK
2019 marks the fifth year of a United Kingdom (UK) training and assessment programme for contractors dealing with invasive weeds in the UK. This has been developed and implemented by the Invasive Weed Control Group (IWCG) of the Property Care Association (PCA), a trade body representing professional contractors and consultants in this sector.
The PCA’s training programme has been taken by 526 attendees, of whom 497 have gone on to take an assessment. The programmes and assessments are described and the data collected by the PCA are used to explore aspects such as pass rates, gender balance, and the nature of the attendees and examinees, and the companies and organizations from which they come. An analysis is undertaken of the programme, including feedback from its participants, to determine its real value ‘on-the-ground’ on the control and management of Japanese Knotweed and other invasive weeds. This includes identifying its strengths and areas for development. A comparison is made with invasive weed training programmes and assessments in other countries, identifying similarities and differences. Combined with feedback from attendees of the PCA programme and the External Examiners for the assessments, the programme is reviewed to identify lessons learned that are applicable widely across the invasive weed control sector internationally. The launch of a new PCA course, the first of its kind in the UK to provide a certified structured learning and assessment process for invasive weed ecology and identification, will also be considered.