Sportsturf - The Hidden Profession?
Ask anyone and they will be able to name the prestigious sporting venues of the world where the stars of soccer, golf, tennis and many more display their sporting prowess. Yet it's not until a match is called off or influenced in some adverse way by the playing surface that the role of the groundstaff or greenkeeper is noticed. A hidden profession yes - but ironically the demand for motivated, skilled and trained young people to enter the sportsturf industry has never been greater.
The Sportsturf Team at Myerscough College have grasped the nettle (none of these to be found on our golf courses!) and taken the message to those who influence the career decisions of young people at the crucial 13 - 16 age group - that is school, college and careers office staff. In a series of innovative seminars based at leading Sportsturf venues such as the Reebok Stadium (home of Bolton Wanderers Premiership soccer club) and Deepdale Park (home of local First Division team Preston North End) Myerscough Sportsturf staff are highlighting the huge career potential within the sportsturf industry.
Terry Robinson, Sportsturf Lecturer at Myerscough College commented, "We decided to hold these seminars at "real life" venues, the kind of places where careers in sportsturf are based, in order to emphasise the high profile environment in which young people embarking on a career in sportsturf can expect to operate."
Also participating in the seminars are current and former students from Myerscough College, now based in leading sportsturf positions worldwide, who will outline their own career development and aspirations within the industry.
Of particular interest to the participants were the comments from Adrian Kay, Head Groundsman at Aintree Racecourse, who emphasised the need for skilled, trained and enthusiastic young people to enter the sportsturf industry.
"Everyone knows Aintree for the Grand National" said Adrian, "and events don't come much more high profile - we all operate in the full glare of the world media for a few days and the pressure is intense. Yet at Aintree we have an all year round programme with our golf course, other race meetings and special non- sporting events. The work is rewarding and satisfying with a need for flexibility and adaptability."
Delegates to the seminars commented on the value of these events in terms of raising their awareness of the many varied and satisfying career opportunities in the sportsturf industry. The first event has already stimulated a visit to Myerscough College by over 40 young people with a view to exploring the options for training, education and careers in Sportsturf.
More events are to take place at high profile sporting venues in the North West. "This is a long term approach" explained Colin Stanfield, Sportsturf Programme Leader at Myerscough. "The key role of the groundstaff and the greenkeeper has been under recognised by those outside the world of sportsturf for many years. These events won't change perceptions over night but will go some way to highlighting sportsturf management as a valuable profession."
(Picture - Adrian Kay, course manager at Aintree, outlines the "employers" perspective at the Myerscough College sportsturf careers seminar at the Reebok Stadium.)
For further information on the wide range of Sportsturf courses on offer at Myerscough College contact Student Advice on 01995 642211/642222 or alternatively contact Colin Stanfield, Programme Leader for Sportsturf on (01995) 642305 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.