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Agricultural & Horticultural Qualifications

QCF / RQG Courses For Agriculture & Horticulture

Talking to people recently I have noticed that there is some confusion relating to qualifications within different industries. In 2015 the old QCF data base of qualifications was replaced by RQF (Regulated Qualification Framework) this change was intended to change the emphasis on how qualifications were assessed and awarded in the UK. The approach taken was to assimilate all qualifications from the different awarding bodies and ensure that equal levels, learning hours and assessment criteria were given equal status for all qualifications.

What does this mean for the industries we are associated with? (namely Agriculture and Horticulture both amenity and commercial), in the past the standard that was set for people undertaking training was that of NPTC (National Proficiency Test Council) criteria. NPTC did not undertake training but set the assessment criteria that training courses were devised around, the candidate undertook the training then assessment was done by an assessor from NPTC. Lantra provided a lot of the training courses that people undertook prior to the assessment. With the shift to RQF Lantra have now become an awarding organization for some of the Qualifications that used to be the sole tenure of NPTC.

The two main examples of this is that of Pesticides and Chainsaw, which for anyone in employment to use at work required a NPTC certificate of competence, Lantra under the new system, devised and had accepted as of equal merit, the assessment system for candidates undertaking this assessment with them as well as candidates doing it with NPTC.

What this means is that both qualification are of equal status and should be recognised as such by employers, and I believe this is now the case as the forestry commission now recognise Lantra Chainsaw and pesticides awards as equal with NPTC. This also equates to other qualifications that both bodies award, all qualifications at a determined level awarded by any “body” recognised by RQF have equal weight and status.

The effect for the industry is that firstly there is now a choice available which was not there previously, secondly this will have an effect on cost, as a training organisation Lantra has always undertaken integrated training and assessment and NPTC is also beginning to offer some training with this included in it. While integrated training and assessment has a longer contact time it often allows for a more user-friendly approach for candidates as there is no final assessment to undertake with the stress that this can place on candidates.

Morgan Training Services offers both routes for employers and are more than happy to advise which routes will suit individual companies the best. While training for pesticides and chainsaw are required by regulations specific to themselves nearly all other training comes under the legislation of PUWER Regulations which states that employers must provide suitable training for employees and that the employee must be competent to use any work equipment they are expected to work with in their daily employment. With the changes to the sentencing guidelines that were issued in 2016 fines have risen significantly for breaches in health and safety legislation.

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