For the first time in its six year history a horticulturalist
has been awarded the coveted Barrie Orme Shield. Russ Woodcock
was named the best candidate in this year’s BASIS certificate
in crop protection exams and presented with the Shield at a ceremony
in London on 7 November.
Left to right at the BASIS Barrie Orme Shield presentation: Rob Simpson managing director BASIS, David Godsmark training provider and winner Russ Woodcock Findons.
Russ also received a cash prize and vouchers for a weekend break
for two. He was delighted with the award. It’s a tough qualification
to get. I was just pleased to hear I’d passed and never expected
to be the best candidate,” he said.
Runners-up were UAP trials manager Paul Beech who is based in
Kent and Andrew Flind now a development agronomist with Bayer CropScience
but at the time of taking the BASIS exam he worked as technical
project manager for horticultural suppliers, The Scotts Company.
The Awards are generously supported by Agricultural Industries
Confederation (AIC), C & J Supplies and Nufarm UK Ltd.
Making the presentation Caroline Drummond chief executive of LEAF
congratulated Russ on his achievement. “It is ten years since
BASIS and LEAF first worked together. Over that time things have
moved on dramatically. There is so much more now to consider in
weed pest and disease control. Knowledge of chemicals and how to
use them is important but so is an understanding of alternative
strategies. This is an area where horticulturalists have much to
Russ, 32, is technical coordinator for Findons, a family company
and one of the biggest commercial growers of plug plants in the
UK. Findons has 23 acres of glass on four sites and employs 100
people (rising to 200-250 at time of peak seasonal demand) in and
around Stratford on Avon in Warwickshire. “As an Investor
in People training is important to us,” explains Findon’s
training coordinator Malcolm Tanner. “For many years we have
developed key members of staff to achieve the BASIS qualification.
It’s part of our commitment to meeting the BOPP (British
Ornamental Plant Producers) Grower Scheme quality standard.”
Russ completed the training provided by David Godsmark in a concentrated
three month period involving four intensive residential courses
as well as practical course work. He chose The Use of Indicator
Plants for the Monitoring and Control of White Fly in Poinsettias as
his research project which forms a key part of the BASIS certificate.
Married to Angela with a two year old son Jamie, Yorkshireman
Russ is a graduate of Askham Bryan and Pershore Colleges. He joined
Findons in 2000 becoming pest and disease coordinator in 2004;
a role which has now evolved into technical coordinator and covers
water quality and sourcing, plant nutrition and good growing practice
as well as pest and disease identification, control and training.
Russ came top out of 224 candidates who sat the BASIS qualification
this year. The selection process for the top candidate is rigorous
as BASIS managing director Rob Simpson explains, “The BASIS
exam panels are asked to put forward those candidates whom they
feel meet the high standards required for this award. Trainers’ views
are also sought and short-listed candidates are then interviewed
on the phone. Clearly a candidate’s performance in the exam
is also important although it is not essential to achieve the best
score to be judged the best overall candidate.”
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