Growsafe Theory Certificate

Who should do this course?

The objective of the Growsafe Theory programme is to recognise agrichemical users who are able to demonstrate knowledge of the safe and responsible use of agrichemicals within a specific sector, including adherence to the principles and contents of the New Zealand Standard, NZS8409 Management of Agrichemicals and sector guidelines.  It is essentially a subset of the Standard certificate.

The Theory certificate is intended for those working in a management or high level administrative role in relation to spray application.  This may include those managing spray contractors or spraying staff.  It is for those making decisions in relation to spraying but who do any spraying themselves (though may have done so in the past).  It is not designed for sprayers who have not yet met the practical competency requirements for the Standard certificate, but rather for those who have no intention/ability to meet the practical requirements due to the nature of their role but who are managing a workplace and/or staff where spraying is undertaken.

In some instances, the Theory certificate may meet prerequisite requirements for Growsafe’s higher level programmes.

Course content

Once you've finished the course and assessment requirements, you will:
  • understand how to apply agrichemicals in a safe, responsible and effective way with minimal adverse impact on human, environmental and animal health
  • be aware of the regulatory and market requirements relating to agrichemical use
  • be aware of your obligations under the regulatory framework that covers the use of agrichemicals in New Zealand.


Active involvement in the management of spray activities for at least one spray season is a prerequisite for this course.  The course tutors will assume all trainees have a basic level of knowledge of agrichemicals and their use so they can focus on new, higher level material.

In certain limited circumstances, a trainer may grant an exemption to the prerequisite to enable trainees who do not meet the prerequisite to attend the course.  However, the certificate will not be awarded the trainee has a season's experience.  If you are unsure, talk with your Growsafe trainer to discuss whether this course is right for you.


The Growsafe Theory certificate will be awarded on successful completion of the written assessment and practical classroom activities. 

There are no specific workplace practical requirements for the Theory certificate.  However, candidates must pass the practical assessment activities on the course and demonstrate an ability to apply their knowledge within their management/administrative role.  They must also provide a Self declaration form indicating the level of responsibility for spraying that they hold in their operation. 

Certified Handler

It is not anticipated that someone holding the Theory certificate would be seeking the Certified Handler certificate as this requires evidence of practical experience and competency.

Unit standards

Some trainers may offer a unit standard: 21563. Check with your trainer when you enrol to confirm whether or not unit standards will be awarded.  There may be additional assessment requirements to achieve these unit standards.

Expiry of certificate and renewal

A Growsafe Theory certificate is valid for 5 years, at which time it can be renewed.  This is because laws, technology and best practice are constantly changing.  While you can read and hear about these changes yourself, your customers and the regulators require evidence that you are up-to-date.  Renewal of your certificate must be done within 6 months of expiry. This can be done by: If your certificate expired more than six months ago, contact your local trainer to discuss renewal requirements.

Course cost

The cost of Growsafe courses is set by the trainer/provider delivering the course.  Contact trainers in your area to find out what they charge.  Ask about any additional charges for Certified Handler or unit standards (if available).  Click here to view upcoming courses around New Zealand.


NOTE: This certificate has been available since mid 2019.