Grounds Training, the specialist training business dedicated to the sports turf and grounds maintenance sectors, is under new ownership having been acquired by three familiar industry names.
Having previously functioned under the Pitchcare/Maxwell Amenity and Agrovista brands, it became part of Sampson Training Limited in the summer, with partners Martin Sampson, Chrissie Johnson and Ellie Parry teaming up to take it forward.
The trio will be no strangers to our readership. Former Grounds Manager Martin is an experienced instructor and assessor for Lantra, City & Guilds (NPTC) and UK Rural Skills, who has delivered training courses for Grounds Training since its inception. For the past six years he has run a land-based training consultancy from offices in Dorset and South Wales. He's experienced increased demand for his services over the past few years and a growing need for high-quality training in the industry.
Chrissie joined Pitchcare in 2006 and founded Grounds Training later that year. Under her stewardship it went from strength to strength, developing a range of customised courses which became accredited by Lantra. She remained at the helm for 12 years until retiring in 2018. Ellie was part of the original team that launched Pitchcare and is one of the turf industry's most prominent marketing communications professionals, working with a wide range of companies and organisations around the world through her agency, Forte.
Chrissie Johnson (left) and Ellie Parry
As an Approved Training Provider with both Lantra and UK Rural Skills, Sampson Training provides professional, on-site grounds maintenance and turf care training to groups of operatives. Its focus is on the delivery of training on-site at clients' premises. Customers include sports clubs and associations, commercial organisations, schools, universities, local authorities, contractors and private estates. It also runs regular Safe Use and Safe Application of Pesticides courses (PA1/6) and a limited number of niche courses regionally, including lawn care, line marking and basic tree inspection.
Martin said; "As a training partner we offer clients a complete service, from initial enquiry to delivery and beyond, helping Grounds, Course and Estate Managers, HR staff in local authorities and companies of all sizes plan training and competence programmes for their staff teams. We work with a fantastic group of instructors and assessors with an incredibly diverse skillset, enabling us to deliver a broad range of training courses and qualifications."
"Training others is incredibly rewarding. For the past few years I've been a tutor at a land-based college working with the next generation of turf professionals. It's vital we address the skills shortage in our industry in order to ensure that the nation's sports and leisure facilities, parks and green spaces have skilled people to maintain them, and that those personnel are able to work confidently, competently and safely."