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Steve and Michael's City & Guilds success

Steve Coles and Michael Winner

Steve Coles and Michael Winner, two of our hospital’s groundsworkers, tell us how they obtained their City & Guilds qualification.

Steve told us that the hospital had recently funded for him and Mick to complete the City & Guilds qualification to enable them to apply pesticides and weed killers, which means they are able to apply chemicals to the grounds. Without it they couldn’t do this around the hospital site or do pest control involving chemicals. PA1 is a two-part qualification which involves legislation, health and safety which you have to pass first before doing the PA6.

Steve said: “The whole course was over four days and it was held at Addington village cricket club in West Malling. On the Monday we got to know the other five people who were on the course and learnt the legal side of things like the do’s and don’ts. We were also set some homework to bring in on the Tuesday.

“The next day was a refresher and any questions were answered. After we had covered all the topics, we were split into two groups and completed a multiple-choice online quiz for PA1 where we had to get a certain percentage to pass.

“Luckily, we all passed! On Tuesday afternoon everything got more technical with the mathematical elements of the course. You must know how much pesticide to use and it’s affected by how fast you’re walking, if the wind changes, how much pressure to use, which nozzle to use- it was very in-depth.

“Friday was another refresher on the practical topics covered on Tuesday. We had to measure the area we were going to spray, we repeated this over and over until the instructor was happy. On Sunday, we came into the hospital and did a study session together.

“Monday 8 November was the big day! Mick had his assessment at 11am and I had mine at 12:30pm. We arrived there a bit earlier to mark out where to spray, there was a lot of pressure, it was very intense. Thankfully we passed!

“Now there’s two people qualified it’s easier for us to go around the grounds and it eases our workload. Mick used to be the only one who could spray because he got a qualification forty years ago but now, we can both do the job to the same standard and guidelines. Weed killing forms a huge part of our monthly duties and can be incredibly tiresome.

“We must adhere to the Plant Protection Products (Sustainable 2012) guidelines and the Pesticide code of practice. Each chemical has a label on the front so we have to know what the terminology means and how to interpret it. People get fined if they get it wrong.

We cover the whole site from Edna’s Retreat to the sewer plant. We really care for the environment and we want to get this right.”

On behalf of everyone at Benenden Hospital congratulations to Steve and Michael on this huge achievement!

To find out more about working at Benenden Hospital, including our commitment to training and development, visit our Careers area.

Published on 18 November 2021