Elliot Wilson is this year's recipient of the Ransomes Jacobsen-sponsored Higher Education Sportsturf Award after completing a degree in BSc (Hons) Sportsturf Science and Management at Myerscough College in Preston.
After three years of study and a seasonal position at St. Andrews Links, Elliot graduated this summer with a first-class degree, leading course tutors to select him as this year's winner of the Sportsturf Award. Elliot is now looking forward to the challenge of sports surface consultancy.
"I am delighted that I have been able to secure a full-time position as a sports surface consultant for TGMS Ltd that specialises in the design and management of natural and synthetic turf sports pitches. I started the job at the beginning of July, and my initial training has been focused around conducting and writing up feasibility studies. I have only just scratched the surface of the full range of responsibilities a fully trained consultant can expect to encounter on a daily basis, but I'm look forward to the challenge ahead!
"One of the best parts of my studies, for me, was securing a seasonal position in 2015 at St. Andrews Links from April to September. I predominantly worked on the New and Jubilee courses as well as the Old course in preparation for the 2015 Open Championship. I learned so much during my time at the course, and I loved the diversity in job rotation, as you were never stuck doing the same job which is often the case in many seasonal greenkeeping positions.
"I was also lucky enough to be granted permission to conduct my research project at St. Andrews on the Old Course during the Open Championship. I investigated the influence of spectator foot traffic upon the soils physical properties, on the fairway crossover paths. This involved using multiple performance-testing tools which has enabled me to develop a comprehensive understanding of how they work and an in-depth understanding of the soils physical properties."
As part of the winning package, Elliot will be given a place on BIGGA's Future Turf Managers' Initiative next spring, taking place at Ransomes Jacobsen's manufacturing facility in Ipswich.
"I'm delighted to have been given a place on the Future Turf Managers' Initiative. I have heard a lot about it, having read about it in various industry magazines. It's great to see programmes like this being run as they can have a huge influence on our careers. I look forward to meeting everyone next year, and I'm sure it will be a great few days for everyone involved."
Course tutor Stewart Brown said, "Elliot consistently produced work of an exceptional standard. He started his degree with no experience of the turfgrass industry, but he has seized every opportunity that the college has provided him, and he now leaves us with a wealth of knowledge and experience that will serve him well in his chosen career path. We wish Elliot all the best for the future."
Huzaifa Atchia completed a Level 2 City & Guilds Diploma in Sportsturf and is this year's winner of the Ransomes Jacobsen Further Education Award.
Course Tutor, David Leach, commented, "Huzaifa has worked extremely hard this year and has proved to be an excellent role model amongst his peers. I believe that Huzaifa will go onto do great things within the turfgrass industry, and I wish him all the best in his future endeavours."