Training budgets can be the early casualties in golf clubs' drive to reduce costs for more efficient running.
Andrew Wight, from Oaklands College, explains how clubs can get much staff training free.
"The government has set up a number of training initiatives for employers over the last few years and many of these are open for use by greenkeepers and their employers," he said.
The schemes and their benefits are:
16 to 18 Training: Employees in this age group are entitled to free training by law and therefore are well suited to an NVQ Level 2 route as run by their local GTC approved provider.
Train to Gain: This is an initiative set up by the Government for England. Its intention is to place training back into the hands of the employers. The scheme is set up to give workers who do not hold a full Level 2 qualification the chance to train for one.
The training is free of charge to the employer and can consist of two routes: option one gives the employer the option of 20 hours of training from the provider as well as assessment; option two gives the employer assessment visits only.
"The advantage of Train to Gain is that it is free of charge for people over 19 and there is no requirement to attend college, for example," said Andrew. "This makes the scheme suitable for greenkeepers who have been doing the job for a while and have all the skills and knowledge required but do not have a formal qualification.
"The greenkeeper can start on an NVQ 2 and have their skills recognised with assessments being carried out in the workplace. The system is made even easier if there is a qualified assessor at the club," he said.
The GTC has a recognised network of qualified assessors within the industry and for those golf clubs looking at training their staff, but who have not got a qualified assessor at the workplace, please contact Fiona at the GTC for further information on the assessor programme Tel 01347 838640 or e-mail email@example.com.
Train to Gain is designed to allow workers to gain their first Level 2 qualification, therefore anybody with a Level 2 qualification - including five GCSEs at grade C or above - does not qualify for this funding. There is no upper age limit but employees must be 19 or over and it is possible for workers who meet the criteria for Train to Gain to jump straight to a Level 3 qualification and be a "level 3 jumper."
Apprenticeship schemes - standard and advanced - are the Government's preferred route for training, especially for young people, and are developed and reviewed by our Sector Skills Council, Lantra.
"Hopefully, you will now have identified some areas of training that are available for your staff," said Andrew. "The next step is to contact your local GTC approved provider for help and advice."
David Golding, GTC's Education Director: said: "As part of the GTC's work we are aware of local and regional variations in terms of funding support for employers to access through our Approved Training Provider network and it is often difficult for us to keep up with the Government's funding agencies' priorities.
"The GTC can direct employers to their local Approved Training Provider but, with some providers securing national contracts, it is important that you check with the GTC just where the various training initiatives are operating and how contact can be made," he added.
For further research on Train to Gain and apprenticeships visit: