Field Identification Skills Certificate

Take a FISC in 2024

BSBI has worked hard with our FISC delivery partners this year to increase the number of publicly available FISCs across England. All the public dates available in 2024 are listed below. We are working hard behind the scenes to continue to expand FISC provision in 2025 to help meet demand and to also make FISCs available in Scotland and Wales in the not too distant future.

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Please use the button below to register your interest in hearing updates when available.

 

FISC dates 2024

UES FISC Pontefract, West Yorkshire: 17 July

Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust FISC in Herts: 26 July 

UES FISC Bleadon, Somerset: 17 July

North Devon Natural England FISC: 24 June

Peak District Natural England FISC: 8 August

Norwich Natural England FISC: 14 August

Northumberland E3 Ecology FISCs: 11 and 12 July

FSC Slapton Ley FISC: 18 July

FSC Preston Montford FISC: 13 and 14 June, 18 and 19 June, 27 and 28 June 

British Botany FISC:  18 July, Wigan.

North Devon Natural England FISC: 30 May

Building capacity for delivery of FISC- can you help?

Capacity is limited by the number of BSBI approved FISC Assessors and Providers. If you have a FISC level 5 and are interested in becoming an Assessor or Gold Standard Surveyor, please get in touch via fisc@bsbi.org.

In addition to FISC Assessors, we would love to also hear from anyone willing to help with delivery of FISCs, whether that be as someone who grows a selection of native plants, parts of which you may be willing to share for FISC lab tests; as someone able to provide a venue from which a FISC can be run, or as an owner or manager of a suitable species rich field site which could be surveyed as part of a FISC. Please get in touch via fisc@bsbi.org.

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Past FISC candidates

If you undertook a FISC in previous years, your data may have been transferred to BSBI by Providers and is now held in a secure database according to our Privacy Policy. If you would like to update your details you can do so using this form, or if you would like your details removed from our database, please get in contact by emailing FISC@bsbi.org.

What is a FISC?

The FISC is a test that assesses your botanical proficiency on a scale from 1 (beginner) to 5 (professional), with a level 6 awarded in exceptional cases. Originally developed by Sarah Whild and Sue Dancey, the BSBI's FISC Development Working Group (including a number of experienced FISC Assessors) now supports and oversees the running of FISCs.

The FISC assesses your real-life botanical skills and is not designed to be part of a training course. It's gaining popularity, with some consultancies sending their staff annually to encourage skill development.

Conducted over a day, the FISC is an enjoyable experience. It consists of two lab sessions where candidates identify 30 fresh specimens from across Britain and Ireland. Following this is a field survey where you spend a couple of hours building a species list on an interesting local site. Your identifications are then compared to a list generated by the Gold Standard Surveyor to determine your skill level.

Results are confidential, but you can choose to share them with potential employers and colleagues. With no pass or fail, the FISC is open to everyone, regardless of skill level. Upon completion, you receive an electronic certificate from the BSBI indicating your skill level, along with advice on activities you are competent to undertake and further studies for progression.

FISC data has been used to study the accuracy of recording by people of all skill levels, summarised in the poster below: