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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Updated National Training Qualifications for Vertebrate Pest Managers in Australia


Vertebrate pest management in Australia continues to evolve in response to land use changes, shifting community attitudes, and advancing technologies. The increasing demands and complexity of this profession requires employees with expertise in a broad range of disciplines. The Australian Pest Animal Strategy (APAS) recommends that best practice management of vertebrate pests should focus on reducing damage due to pests rather than the number of individual animals, using a strategic and integrated approach that incorporates the best available knowledge, tools, and skills. To help achieve this, Australia’s vertebrate pest management training qualifications under the national Vocational and Education Training system are being updated to align with the APAS. Industry engagement and consultation during the scoping phase of this project has highlighted a number of reasons why people who work in pest management are not undertaking training to obtain nationally recognised qualifications. Barriers to formal education include employers who are unwilling to release staff for periods of training; a lack of available training courses and skilled trainers in the industry, especially in rural and regional areas; workers with university qualifications who lack practical field skills; workers who are employed on short-term contracts with no secure career path; and a preference for competency-based short courses for professional development. This paper explains the motivation behind Australia’s qualifications and training review and how the industry proposes to overcome some of the problems with current training programs. These issues are not unique to Australia, and we also explore how the United States is facing similar challenges in addressing the continuing education needs of vertebrate pest management professionals.

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