BIGGA appoints dedicated workforce and recruitment project manager as association seeks to promote the greenkeeping profession to a wide audience

Karl Hansellin Golf

The British & International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA) has appointed an experienced project manager to oversee the implementation of the innovative First Green initiative and to create an online resource centre that will showcase careers in greenkeeping to a wide audience.

Far left:Jim Croxton Far right:Ian Pogson Centre Left: Jennifer Bledge

Jennifer Bledge has spent over a decade working in information governance roles within education. She is a former parent governor of Sandwich Infant School and is a qualified teacher. Jennifer also has experience of developing relationships with various stakeholders across education, which will prove vital as BIGGA seeks to engage with other organisations to successfully implement its outreach programme.

At BTME 2023 in January, BIGGA announced it would be adopting the Golf Course Superintendent Association of America's (GCSAA) successful First Green initiative. First Green transforms golf courses into STEM classrooms and Jennifer will oversee the development of a UK-specific toolkit that will aid in the roll out of this scheme.

She will also lead in the development of a digital careers in greenkeeping resource centre that is aimed at school leavers, graduates, second careers and golfers. Supporting this, she will liaise with ex-military and public services careers services, the National Careers Service, various charities and universities with related degree courses.

Jennifer has an existing understanding of the greenkeeping industry as her husband James Bledge is Royal Liverpool Golf Club's course manager and is preparing to host The Open in July this year.

BIGGA Chief Executive Officer Jim Croxton said: "The appointment of a workforce recruitment project manager for BIGGA stands to be one of the most important strategic decisions the association has made in some time. It represents a fundamental shift in how we approach the challenges our industry faces and I hope gives confidence to our members that we are aware of the various issues relating to staff welfare, recruitment and retention and are addressing these head on.

"Jennifer was the outstanding candidate for this role and given her decades of experience working within education, I am thrilled she has joined the team. I look forward to sharing updates about the various projects she will be working on in the coming years with our members and the wider golfing public. There is a long way to go, but with the appointment of a talented project manager in Jennifer, I am confident we have taken a vital first step."

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