The autumn of 2016 marked 10 years since John Richards invited me to "see if I could do something with a few training enquiries" that had trickled in to the Pitchcare office.
With a background as an Executive PA in the Financial Services and Construction industries, plus a few years in the frothy world of Fashion, what did I know about Turf Culture? I wasn't even particularly interested in sport! However, my previous responsibilities had included staff learning and development, so at least that was a familiar area.
With help and advice from some of our knowledgeable and generous Pitchcare members and other turf professionals, I quickly settled into the task of finding my way around the training courses already available, and forging links with the awarding bodies - Lantra and NPTC. It soon became apparent that our members and associates possessed a wealth of talent and experience and, with very little quality turf maintenance training being offered by other training providers, it was a logical step to harness that expertise and develop our own suite of training courses.
So, ten years down the line I am proud of our position as the training provider of choice for the turf and, increasingly, groundcare industries. The take-up rate by individuals for our open Safe Use of Pesticides and turf care courses grows steadily year on year and our bespoke, on site training goes from strength to strength with regular and new key clients. Our Training Centre staff at Allscott include Lynsey Gale, Training Manager; Carol Smith, Training Administrator, and the newest member of the Team Jack Fishman, Administration Apprentice. Lynsey has spearheaded the Online Training and Website Redesign projects, manages the day-to-day work of the department and is a whizz at social media marketing. Carol deals with all the course administration from initial enquiries right through to post course certification, including processing bookings and invoicing.
We are also fortunate to have a team of self-employed Instructors and Assessors who are a delight to work with. Too many to name but special mention must go to Doug Price who has given us huge support from the beginning and continues to deliver regular Safe Use of Pesticide and machinery courses at Allscott, and Martin Sampson who is developing our satellite operation in Central Southern England.
My own role these days is to manage the relationship with our key clients on the bespoke (or group) training side, and to continue to develop additional training that is relevant to the modern role of the professional groundsman and greenkeeper.
I am really excited about the launch of our redesigned website and our programme of Online courses, which will bring training opportunities to a wider market. What could be better for an enthusiastic young member of the team or volunteer, on a wet afternoon, than to get comfy in the shed, make a cuppa and settle down in front of the PC to progress their knowledge and education?
I have thoroughly enjoyed working in this industry over the past ten years and can honestly say that grass roots (excuse the pun!) groundsmen and greenkeepers are the most genuine, generous, self-effacing and friendly people I have ever worked with.
Bring on the next 10 years… Visit Grounds Training here