The International Golf Course Equipment Managers Association has launch its Certificate Programme, providing technicians with education and accreditation tailored to their specific job.
The programme, which has been developed over the past three years, has come to fruition due to the hard work of the association's board members, committee members and hired developers.
The IGCEMA's Board of Directors hired a Certification Consultant to assist them in putting together a road map to develop the programme. In consultation with many of the equipment manufacturers and technicians, they have taken time to understand the training needs of its members and the most effective way of meeting them.
CEO Stephen Tucker said: "The IGCEMA wants to give its members the tools they need to succeed: that's why we are here and that is exactly what we're going to do. We're delighted that the Federation of European Golf Greenkeepers Associations (FEGGA) has pledged its support for the programme and we hope other industry bodies will follow suit."
"For the past 18 months, we've worked with a test developer who specialises in turf equipment to create study guides and tests specific to our industry. To avoid 'reinventing the wheel', we looked at the existing provision too, and sought feedback on what works and what doesn't. The end-result, the IGCEMA's Certificate Programme, is the first International turf equipment-specific development programme available for technicians.
The association has now released first two Study Guides and examinations for equipment technicians, superintendents, distributors and service managers, Hydraulics and Electrical Systems. These will be followed in the coming months by two further programmes on Engines (2/4 cycle and compact diesel) and Drivetrains.
The study guides in paperback format are available to order online from the IGCEMA bookstore. Testing will be carried out online using a bespoke testing system sponsored by The Toro Company. The association is working to establish proctors around the world to administer the testing at their facilities and also plan to allow public libraries to proctor the exams as well. They will need to obtain access codes to unlock the site in order to commence testing.
The full programme will be released next month, when the IGCEMA will specify the examinations that will need to be passed to gain its Certificate. Successful completion of each exam will allow you to print off a certificate for that module. Completion of all the competencies will result in the attainment of the IGCEMA Certificate.
Stephen Tucker thinks the new programme will provide a number of benefits for employers and employees alike: "We'd like the IGCEMA Certificate to be the benchmark for measuring the technical ability of equipment technicians around the world. We also believe it help develop and progress their careers. The number of colleges offering education for golf technicians is reducing and someone has to take responsibility for the future of our profession."
"The IGCEMA has worked hard to establish itself as the organisation of turf equipment manager and our membership numbers reflect that. That's why we're best placed to deliver this education programme. In the future I think you're going to see the Certificate Programme become a requirement of employment whether it's at a dealership or at a golf course."