Take a FISC in 2024
FISC dates for 2024 are slowly being released by FISC Providers. Those currently listed below are almost fully booked, but we have been informed by FISC Providers that a number of new dates will be released in due course. We hope to have a FISC running in each region in England and one in Wales this year.
Please use the button below to register your interest in hearing updates when available.
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find out more...
- Contact BSBI's FISC Support Team by emailing Chantal Helm (BSBI Training Co-ordinator), on FISC@bsbi.org for more info on sitting or hosting a FISC.
- View or download the FISC booklet (July 2023 update).
- Read this article written by FISC founders Sue Dancey and Sarah Whild in 2023 on taking a FISC
- Check out the Field Identification Skills Certificates poster displayed at the 2022 British & Irish Botanical Conference.
Past FISC candidates
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:
- Errors in recording poster, by Quentin Groom and Sarah Whild