An eagerly awaited game management qualification has been launched to help boost industry standards and best practice.
Gamekeepers, estate managers and shoot managers looking to brush up on their skills can now apply for places on the new course.
It has been developed through a collaboration between the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) and BASIS.
The BASIS Certificate in Game Management is designed to encourage best practice across the sector.
It will provide qualified individuals with a professional accreditation that demonstrates assurance of high standards of practice to employers, customers and the public.
Coronavirus delayed the launch of the course, which held just part of one three-day session in March before the restrictions came into force.
There will be four opportunities to attend the course in 2021, all of which will be held at the GWCT Allerton Project, in Leicestershire.
Roger Draycott, director of education at the GWCT said: “There has been a lot of discussion about the impact of released game in recent months.
"Game management can have a positive impact on the environment, and we want as many people involved in shooting to show they’re doing the right thing.
“Lots of effort is put into those gamekeepers starting out in their careers, but this is the first course aimed at more experienced individuals.
"This qualification is tailored for all levels of gamekeeper, as well as estate managers, landowners, shoot managers and shoot captains in fact it is aimed at everyone who has responsibility for running a shoot.”
The three-day training course will include various modules in both practical and lecture-based sessions, covering predation control, gamebird releasing, shoot and land management, game crops and industry regulation.
To complete the Certificate, candidates are required to take a multiple choice and short answer exam paper at the end of the training.
The modules can also be completed within a 12-month period for candidates that are unable to join for three consecutive days.
Greg Hopkinson, BASIS head of business development said: “Game shooting takes place across 14 million hectares of British countryside.
"To ensure that game management has a positive impact on biodiversity and the wider environment it is important that game managers follow best industry practice and meet standards."