Wembley Stadium Turf Scholarship sponsors Toro and Lely UK recently presented current winner Tom Peirce with a plaque commemorating his achievement.
Collecting his plaque while visiting the recent Harrogate Week greenkeeping and groundscare exhibition, the 19-year-old from Dunstable in Bedfordshire revealed that he is relishing his six-month scholarship at the stadium, which started in September 2009. As well as experiencing pitch maintenance and renovations throughout the football season, Tom is particularly enjoying preparations for the major rugby and NFL matches also held at Wembley.
"I'm really enjoying working at Wembley," he comments. "I've loved all the events, but the NFL preparations have been my favourite so far. I've been mowing and Verti-draining the pitch, plus I've used most of the Toro machinery now, so feel that I've gained so many new skills and experiences. But the best thing by far is how much I've learned from the groundscare team - they've helped me even more than I imagined. I can't thank the team, Toro and Lely enough for this opportunity."
Presenting Tom with his plaque, Lely's Toro general manager Peter Mansfield adds: "I'm thrilled to present this plaque to Tom in recognition of his achievement. As with previous winners, Tom's time spent working at one of the world's most famous stadiums will stand him in very good stead for the future. We look forward to seeing how his career progresses as the scholarship draws to a close later this spring and wish him all the best."
Note to editors: The Wembley Stadium Turf Scholarship is a unique training opportunity open to young student groundsmen living in the local area. The scheme was established in 2007 by Wembley Stadium and is sponsored by turf maintenance equipment manufacturer Toro and its UK distributor, Lely UK, in association with Oaklands College in St Albans, Hertfordshire.
Wembley Stadium is committed to the development of young people and working closely with the local community and so this opportunity is open exclusively to turf students at Oaklands College, which was chosen as the stadium's educational partner in horticulture because of its close location.
All students currently studying for the college's City & Guilds National Certificate in Horticulture specialising in Sports Turf Management can apply for the scholarship. The college then selects a shortlist of students to go forward for a judging day held at the stadium after which the successful candidate is appointed.
The 2009 scholarship began on 1 September and ends in spring 2010 when the stadium's concert season commences.
Picture:- Wembley Stadium Turf Scholarship winner Tom Peirce, left, receives his commemorative plaque from Lely's Toro general manager, Peter Mansfield.