The UK pest control industry comprises over 1,500 sole operators/micro businesses. To be considered a pest professional, technicians must pass a knowledge-based assessment, but a written assessment on its own is not always proof of competence. Indeed, it is possible to pass the test without ever seeing rodent or insect pests in an authentic setting.
At a European level, CEPA has endorsed the need for competency-based training, but the sector has not found a way to deliver this using traditional methods. It is not practical for assessment organisations to visit large numbers of small, geographically dispersed customers. Assessments on real sites would likely result in occasions where no pests are identified, making an evaluation impossible.
This project will develop a web-hosted 3D pest infestation simulator, which will offer an assessment platform to test the competency of new and requalifying pest controllers. Learners will assess the situation, identify the pests and decide on the best course of treatment in a simulated 3D real-life environment.
BPCA are experts in the subject matter and the needs of the learners and have partnered with an e-learning agency to supply the digital (3D) content. Initially, the content will cover a small number of the most commonly encountered environments with a range of 2-3 pest issues in each. Post-pilot, the ambition is to expand the content to cover the full range of pests and environments that technicians are likely to come across.