Ransomes Jacobsen, the Ipswich-based turf maintenance equipment manufacturer, has again provided funding for BIGGA's Higher Education Scholarship programme, extending their support into a ninth year. This year scholarships have been awarded to eight individuals and the total funding since the programme was instigated in 2002 now exceeds £125,000.
The recipients of this year's award were:
Jamie Blake, Foundation Degree, Sports Turf (On-Line)
Craig Parry, SVQ Level 4, Management
Timothy Johnson, BSc Honours in Turfgrass Science (On-Line)
James Stevens, Foundation Degree, Sports Turf (On-Line)
Gary Cunningham, NVQ Level 4, Sports Turf
Andrew Reason, HNC Golf Course Management (On-Line)
Derek Robson, Turfgrass Management (On-Line)
Michael Boyes, Foundation Degree, Sports Turf (On-Line)
Laurence McCrory, now course manager at Bicester Golf Club in Oxfordshire was one of the first students who applied for a scholarship back in 2002. Commenting on the support he received he said, "I studied some key HNC units via Elmwood College and covered topics such as preparing, presenting and managing budgets, irrigation, managing machinery, health and safety, supervision and management, communication, pests and diseases and plant nutrition. These were the areas that I felt that you really don't experience fully at deputy course manager level. So when I was applying for the role of head greenkeeper at Bicester Golf Course, I was able to discuss these areas with confidence at the interview stage.
"Also as part of the interview process I was asked to produce a comprehensive course report. I found this a straight forward process having learnt a logical report writing technique via the communication unit. I was successful and was offered the position. Since starting at Bicester Golf Club I have been informed that the report I wrote was very similar to an independent agronomist's report commissioned by the club and this really set me apart from other candidates. This report actually formed the basis for a 5 year plan to improve the golf course. I have used all of the knowledge and skills learnt at HNC level since becoming a course manager and still refer to my notes on occasion.
"Without the RJ-funded scholarship I would not have been able to afford this course and I certainly feel that my career path has been accelerated as a result. Above all, I have been able to cope with the extra pressures and expectations that the role of course manager demands thanks to the knowledge gained from higher education."
Thanking Ransomes Jacobsen for their support, Sami Collins, head of learning and development at BIGGA said, "Enhancement of the professional profile of the greenkeeper and the development of educational opportunities is at the very core of BIGGA's culture. Thanks to the continued financial support by Ransomes Jacobsen for the Higher Education Scholarship Scheme, BIGGA has been able to help a great number of members achieve their career development plans."
David Withers, managing director at Ransomes Jacobsen added, "All of us in the golf sector, especially the major manufacturers, have a duty to promote the industry and support those within it. We have now helped 114 fine turf professionals attain higher education qualifications and progress their careers in the sector. The six-figure investment clearly demonstrates our support for BIGGA and the industry in general; something that my team here in Ipswich are committed to for the long term. We wish this year's scholars all the best in their studies and we'll watch their progress with interest."
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Laurence McCrory, now course manager at Bicester Golf Club,
was one of the first students to apply for a scholarship back in 2002.