Kyle Ross from Wyevale Nurseries has successfully completed a competency exam to become an Associate on the Plant Health Professional Register. He joined the register organised by the Royal Society of Biology, which aims to develop plant health skills and create a community for plant health professionals.
The 25-year-old explained: “I am delighted to have been accepted as a registered Plant Health Professional. I submitted a competency exam of some 10,000 words, which covered a wide range of topics on the biosecurity spectrum.
“I hope that this achievement will show our customers and other horticultural business’ that, at Wyevale Nurseries, we are 100% dedicated to plant health.
“I will use this platform to enhance our already robust biosecurity protocols even further and develop the plant health skills of our on-site staff. I would highly recommend other growers in the UK to have a representative on the Plant Health Professional Register if possible.”
The Plant Health Professional Register was established in 2016 in response to the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and Government Office of Science reports recommending development of plant health skills and creating opportunities for a wider community of trained plant health professionals.
The Plant Health Professional Register demonstrates skills against the GB Strategy for Plant Health and Biosecurity and encourages continued professional development in plant health. There are three levels of the register – Associate, Registered and Senior.
The register acknowledges an individual’s competencies and helps signpost training and career development opportunities. It provides the Chief Plant Health Officers with information on plant health expertise in the UK, for speedy responses to disease outbreaks. Together this helps protect the UK and businesses from the harm that pests and disease can cause to plants.
In 2018, a pilot exercise engaged with the Horticulture sector to extend the register to all relevant horticulturalists and is now being incorporated into the plant health assurance scheme being developed by the Horticultural Trades Association.