30 January 2023

Free chemical licence course at TAFE NSW available online

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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man spraying chemical

TAFE NSW is offering local farmers and other land managers a free opportunity to update a compulsory chemical licence. Photo: TAFE NSW.

An important opportunity has arisen for local farmers and other workers who use pesticides and herbicides, with TAFE NSW offering a fee-free chemical course.

TAFE NSW is giving Riverina farmers the chance to renew the compulsory licence that allows them to use chemicals on their property.

The Statement of Attainment (SOA) in Agricultural Chemical Skill Set is a fee-free course available online. It normally costs $350.

The course consists of two units of study: Prepare and apply chemicals to control pests, weeds and disease; and Transport and store chemicals.

It is offered to eligible locals, including farmers and any other worker with a requirement to use pesticides and herbicides on the job.

TAFE NSW primary industries teacher Kelly Upton said the fee-free course applied to several professions.

“This is an important qualification for a lot of people, particularly people in rural Australia and rural New South Wales,” Ms Upton said.

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“Anyone who uses chemicals to treat weeds, pests or diseases in their workplace or in their industry has to have this accreditation to be able to use chemicals.

“The accreditation needs to be updated every five years and there are a lot of people in the region who would already hold this qualification and may need to upgrade or get it from scratch.”

Ms Upton said with the course being available online, it was useful to people in regional areas, particularly those who lived on farms or in remote locations.

“Getting into a local TAFE campus could be inconvenient, you know, expensive to drive in there, but with this course, it can be done from home as long as people have a computer and a decent internet,” she said.

“They can do it in their own time.”

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The online course will take three months to complete. If it’s done face-to-face at a local campus, it will be over two days in class.

“Once the students enrol and log in to the platform, they will find all the lessons there, including reading materials and assessments,” Ms Upton said.

“They [students] can chip away at it within the three months to get it done, which is convenient.”

Ms Upton said those contemplating doing the course must have access to spray equipment and suitable personal protective equipment as they would need to take videos for assessments to show they could mix chemicals and deal with chemical spills.

According to a report by Deloitte, almost 70 per cent of crops grown in Australia are attributed to pesticides, with farmers required to renew their licence to use chemicals every five years.

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