As spring turns towards summer, we approach the end of another college academic year and more young people head off, often into their first jobs in the industry or onto higher education.
The term is a hive of activity on campus with final exams and submissions of work for qualification boards.
Summer always has a wealth of high profile sporting events, with many of the stadia and surfaces maintained by Groundsmen and Greenkeepers who have trained and studied with Myerscough College. There are some amazing examples of career progression with some of the highest profile positions in industry being filled by Myerscough graduates and its something the College is extremely proud of.
We continue to invest in facilities at Myerscough and 2016 has already seen a mass of building activity on campus. Recent additions to our portfolio include a new Sports Performance Centre and also shortly to be completed is a new Sports Turf Maintenance unit which will service the needs of our students going forward. It is essential to provide the latest technology and Myerscough continues to be at the cutting edge within our education sectors.
For the workbased team, we enter one of our busiest periods as school and college leavers seek Apprenticeship opportunities and increasingly more and more employers realise the opportunities, potential and business benefits of employing Apprentices. The Employer Services team at college is always available to provide advice and guidance on the recruitment of Apprentices and can assist employers every step of the way.
This issue we catch up with some of the amazing workbased learners and Apprentices we train and support in a range of settings within Amenity and Sportsturf Greenkeeping.
All the learners featured are under the guidance of Workbased Tutor Andy Kenworthy. Andy works with large number of Apprentices and employers mainly within the West Yorkshire area across the full spectrum of Horticulture and Sportsturf provision.
Andy said; "It's always fantastic to share the achievements and success of our learners. So many go on to achieve not just qualifications but success in their roles, communities and enhance their life and career chances. Many of my ex-learners have progressed into management roles and are now mentoring and training Apprentices of their own which makes me immensely proud. It's great to feature Callum, Suzanne, Matthew and Ben all of whom have achieved so much as part of their learning and I know they will all have long careers within Horticulture and Sportsturf."
Learner in Focus: Ben Tate - Assistant Greenkeeper - Leeds Golf Centre
Ben Tate, aged 22 from Leeds originally started out in a temporary position, and after successfully completing two summers was taken on full time and secured a position as Assistant Greenkeeper. Part of this was also the opportunity to undertake the level 2 Apprenticeship in Greenkeeping which Ben started in September of 2015.
The level 2 programme has allowed Ben to consolidate his experience so far and to ensure his day to day practices meet the criteria and standard for the qualification which Ben hopes to complete in late 2016.
Ben shared his experience of Greenkeeping and reasons for choosing the Apprenticeship, saying; "Through a friend, I came across the opportunity here at Leeds Golf Centre. After a period of seasonal work, I was lucky enough to secure the Apprenticeship. I really enjoy the role and the Apprenticeship now gives the chance to get a real qualification in Greenkeeping and also to get paid a wage at the same time. I am really glad I had some experience here before I started the qualification as its allowed me to look at things in much more detail."
"I love being outdoors and it's great to be able to prepare the course and to present it in the best possible way for our members and guests. I came across Greenkeeping by chance having previously studied construction and IT at college. Already I know I have made the right choice and I am looking forward to getting more qualifications and progressing in my role here at Leeds Golf Centre."
"The team are extremely supportive and are always willing to make sure I do things to the best of my ability. My advice to other young people considering Greenkeeping is to talk to employers, try and get some experience and to just go for it. If you enjoy the outdoors and are happy to work hard, it's a great job to be in."
Employer in Focus: Apprentices at Calderdale Council
Myerscough has a long-standing relationship with Calderdale Council, having trained large numbers of staff and Apprentices in Horticulture and Local Environmental Services. Calderdale is one of many local authorities to choose Myerscough College as its delivery partner for this provision.
We recently caught up with Apprentices, Callum Graham and Suzanne (Suzzie) Walton, who are working hard not just to train as Apprentices, but to improve the communities in which they work. Both are Safer - Cleaner - Greener Apprentices working towards the Intermediate Apprenticeship in Local Environmental Services. This framework is fantastic for employers where the work is a blend of Horticulture, Grounds Maintenance and Street Cleansing. Callum and Suzie work across the area cleaning and maintaining a wide range of park, amenity and Sportsturf areas under the control of the Calderdale Council.
Callum has also recently been successful with a Grow Wild Youth Grant, which has allowed the introduction of urban community orchards and wildflower meadows within the area. Grow Wild is the UK's biggest-ever wild flower campaign, bringing people together to transform local spaces with native, pollinator-friendly wildflowers and plants. We asked Callum and Suzie what made them choose Apprenticeships and what are the best parts of their roles.
Callum said; "I have always loved being outdoors and the Apprenticeship gives me the chance to do this, gain a proper recognised qualification and get paid at the same time. I had previously studied surveying and also joinery at college before starting on the Apprenticeship."
"It's fantastic to think that what we do on a day to day basis is helping the community, and making a difference to people's lives. It was fantastic to get the Grow Wild Youth grant and to be able to put something back into the community."
"The job is so varied. One day we can be collecting litter and doing some general tidying, and the next we can be working on pitches and bowling greens. No two days are the same and we meet so many different people each and every day. I would definitely recommend them to other young people looking at careers in Horticulture."
Suzzie said; "The Apprenticeship has allowed me to take a different direction. I previously studied Make Up Artistry and have always had a passion for the outdoors and I love to be creative. My family have always been passionate about gardening, it was something I grew up with. When I saw this Apprenticeship, I knew I just had to go for it and luckily I was successful."
"I already know I have made the right choice. My job is so varied and I get to make a real difference in the community. It's also great to see a job well done and to get job satisfaction. The Council are really supportive and allow us to develop and to get involved in a variety of projects and initiatives. It's hard work at times, especially in bad weather, but I wouldn't change it for the world."
"The big plus for the Apprenticeship is learning on the job and getting a salary at the same time. It gives you real experience and you can build a great portfolio of things you have been involved in. For me, it's a great chance to start in a career in Horticulture and I hope I can progress onto higher qualifications and secure a permanent role once I have competed the qualification."
Mark Dempsey, Support Services Manager, Calderdale Safer Cleaner Greener said: "The Grow wild project has engaged the apprentices in many different ways and helped the group learn in a practical way, the project will also leave a legacy for parks and green spaces throughout Calderdale, particularly after the Boxing day floods."
Learner in Focus: Matthew Brighton - Deputy Course Manager - The Alwoodley Golf Club
Matthew, aged 27 from Leeds has worked in Greenkeeping since the age of 14 during his time on work experience whilst at high school. Matthew joined the team at Alwoodley in January 2007 and has never looked back since, progressing to become Deputy Course Manager.
Having completed his Level 2 qualification ten years ago, Matthew is shortly to finish his Level 3 programme and reflects on his learnings, and gives advice to other aspiring young Greenkeepers saying; "For me, work experience is absolutely essential for any young person. If you can find a career doing something you love, it's a massive bonus. I am a keen golfer and from an early age I knew I wanted to work in the industry. School was not great for me, and I was never strong academically, preferring more practical subjects. The offer of an Apprenticeship straight from school was a great choice for me, allowing me to develop a core range of skills and give me the chance at a career in Greenkeeping."
"Now at 27, I am shortly to complete my Level 3 programme, and if you had told me at 16 this would happen, I would not have believed you. It's not been an easy road and my employers have been a key part of my journey. The Level 3 builds on the core skills of the Level 2, bringing in management, budgeting, planning, organising and other technical skills that really test your knowledge of the industry."
"What's amazing is that I now support a team of other young Greenkeepers embarking on their careers. My thoughts are now turning to Higher Education and I am considering entry onto the Foundation Degree as my next step. In the future, I aspire to develop my career at Alwoodley and hopefully be the Course Manager one day."
"My advice to other young people considering Greenkeeping is simple; talk to Course Managers and other young Greenkeepers and get some experience. Do your research and try and find an opportunity that will allow you to develop with support and time to learn. Greenkeeping is more than a career, it's a vocation and I am immensely proud of my achievements so far. I would recommend Apprenticeships as a great way for young people to enter the sector."
Apprenticeships - The Future
The transformation of Apprenticeships nationally continues to grow momentum, with a renewed government agenda to enhance the quality of provision and provide standards that fully meet the needs of industry.
New standards will be clearly aligned to occupational job roles, with the independent end assessment of the skills, knowledge and behaviours ensuring Apprentices attain the required industry standard and possess the job ready skills and competences required by sector employers.
At Myerscough College, we have always worked closely with employers and industry to deliver cutting edge provision to the latest industry standards. Consultation with employers, through our regular training advisory board meetings, has meant provision is always evolving and adapting to the fast changing needs of industry. We welcome the Trailblazer approach and will remain actively involved in the development of Standards across all our Apprenticeship provision.
As new standards come on board, please keep an eye on our website as delivery models, costs and the structure of provision is announced. We are currently working actively on a number of standards and hope to have the first frameworks live in Autumn 2016.
April 2017 sees the introduction of the Apprenticeships levy for large employers. This will affect larger employers in all sectors. The levy will only be paid on annual pay bills in excess of £3 million, and so less than 2% of UK employers will pay it.
The Apprenticeship Levy will be a levy on UK employers to fund new apprenticeships. In England, control of apprenticeship funding will be put in the hands of employers through the Digital Apprenticeship Service. The levy will be charged at a rate of 0.5% of an employer's pay bill. Each employer will receive an allowance of £15,000 to offset against their levy payment. It will be introduced in April 2017.
There will also shortly be announcements on how Apprenticeships are funded, through the new Digital Apprenticeship Service which will give employers more ownership of the funding available, advise on employer contribution levels and signpost to the most appropriate provision available. A wealth of information is available online and we will advise further once final announcements are made.
For more information on any of the programmes and provision at Myerscough College, please contact the Employer Services team on 01995 642255 or email firstname.lastname@example.org