Positive start for AICC training academy

The new training academy of the Association of Independent Crop Consultants (AICCA), launched at Cereals last year, saw its inaugural members complete their first training modules just before Christmas.

The AICCA is aimed at progressive, young, technical agronomists between the ages of 22-32 who are focused in pursuing a career in commercially independent agronomy, and is the first formalised training scheme of its kind.

The Academy is targeted at the post BASIS level for trainees from around the country who are already working with established AICC members, and this first group of trainees will complete the modules over the next year together. The success of the first two modules marks a milestone in the bright future of the AICC.

“78% of AICC members are now part of a group and therefore better placed to take on a trainee, whilst the trainee benefits from the experience of established agronomists with different areas of expertise. Also by adopting this approach, each trainee is appointed their own mentor together with the support they gain from being a member of AICC,” explains Sarah Cowlrick, CEO of the AICC.

Alex Creswell, who is one of the trainees, is unequivocal in his enthusiasm for the scheme. “In my view independent agronomy is the way forward, there is no better model for giving agronomy advice, where a truly independent view is the aim. The end client, the farmer, should have the correct information to make his business succeed in an environment where there are huge environmental pressures and I believe independent agronomy delivers this.”

“The AICC has talented people, resources, trials data and a wealth of experience, providing access to quality information and a brilliant platform to launch a career in independent agronomy.”

Exposing the trainees to their first taste of industry partner training, Ron Stobart of NIAB TAG and Mel Holloway of ADAS, covered many of the issues surrounding soil fertility and managing rotations and cultivations to improve soil fertility.

Trainees also spent time with representatives of the AICC council and trials committee, discussing practical issues such as fungicide recommendations for 2016, to more strategic problems surrounding pesticide resistance and product availability.

Ben Frost, also on the scheme, believes the opportunity to mix with like-minded professionals was invaluable. “I feel privileged to be involved in the first of the AICCA seminars, and it was also a great opportunity to meet the AICC committee, other independent agronomists, and mix with other trainees. I believe that such sessions will provide valuable knowledge which I know will be important, not just during my training, but also later in my independent agronomy career.”

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