The Greenkeepers' Training Committee (GTC) technical committee has a new chairman with the appointment of Nick Bisset.
Nick, who took over the role from Dr Mike Canaway, paid tribute to his predecessor adding that he would be a hard act to follow.
He pledged to support Education Director, David Golding, in discussions with all the bodies to ensure that the best possible greenkeeper education, training and qualification system is maintained.
"Remember that the work already done by the GTC in providing learning materials, manuals and qualified assessors in the workplace are held up by the land-based industry as a model to follow," said Nick.
He added there had been a substantial improvement of professional standards resulting in more recognition by golf clubs as a result of the work of the GTC and the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA) in pro-actively promoting the value of training opportunities for greenkeeping staff at golf clubs.
"There are a great many changes going on in education and training and there are more in the pipeline," said Nick. "The GTC rightly decided to follow the government guidelines and buy in to the N/SVQ system as it is designed to develop skills in the workplace.
"This is not likely to change substantially in the future but there is considerable tinkering going on around the fringes and the GTC is at the hub of these changes which are all designed to help both the learner and employer.
"In my personal opinion the N/SVQ system is designed basically for large organisations operating at one or more large sites where supervision and training can be done by specialists on site with large numbers of staff," said Nick.
"How is that reconciled with golf courses where there are often few members of staff and all at different skill levels? The GTC has been pro-active by training assessors on golf courses throughout Britain and this has given the VQ system, in our sector, greater credibility."
"Another aspect which the GTC must continue to do is to encourage employers - represented on the GTC by the British Home Golf Unions - and especially individual clubs to recognise the role they have to play continuing to improve the quality of greenkeeping standards and therefore the maintenance and management of golf courses for the future," said Nick.
Born in Fife, Nick went to school in St Andrew's and lived in Scotland until he started working for the Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI) in 1967. In 1976 he moved to Askham Bryan College near York as course tutor for a full time greenkeeping course as well as teaching on a part time course.
"Around two years later, I was asked to take over on a part time basis, the administration of the training scheme for greenkeepers involving the old yellow log book which was the forerunner to the current, highly acclaimed, GTC training manual," said Nick.
"This I did until the GTC decided more money should be injected and made a full time appointment - David Golding!"
He continued to work for Askham Bryan in various capacities until last February. During this time, Nick acted as an examiner for City and Guilds and The Institute of Groundsmandship and continues to act as an examiner for the BIGGA Master Greenkeeper scheme.