The Greenkeepers' Training Committee (GTC) has added two new colleges to its list of centres which work with the sector and within the awarding bodies' criterion to deliver sports turf qualifications.
Duchy College in Cornwall and Kingston Maurward College in Dorset have been added to the list. The GTC's Education Director, David Golding, said: "Both centres are providing specialist turf programmes on a local basis for clubs and greenkeeping candidates and have established industry liaison committees to monitor the deliver.
"A major part of our work is to monitor the quality standards of sports turf education and training in association with the awarding bodies."
"Our team of staff are absolutely delighted that they have recently been provisionally approved as a GTC centre," said Duchy College operations manager (work based learning) Chris Shepherd. "The status means a great deal to all training providers and is a hard-earned and fiercely guarded prize.
The college looks after about 450 apprentices or work based learners in the land based sector across all of the vocational areas associated with a land based college. "Within this number we cater for around 30 greenkeepers at any one time across Devon and Cornwall," she said. "Our association with the industry started in autumn 2000 and since then around 150 greenkeepers of all ages have taken part in NVQ training programmes.
"As relative newcomers, what has been striking is the level of support that we have received from the industry. Many other vocational areas in the land based sector could learn a great deal from the way in which the greenkeeping industry has organised itself and promoted work based learning opportunities.
"I have experienced first hand the extremely effective case put by the GTC to LANTRA when it comes to designing apprenticeship frameworks and NVQ content. The GTC learning materials (NVQL2 and L3) are a superb source of information to all learning their profession," said Chris.
"The support from the Devon and Cornwall greenkeepers has been amazing and it feels as if we could access both the physical and human resource across all of the clubs with whom we work. Our regular assessor update sessions are very effective in keeping contact with the industry and communicating with the many qualified assessors out there. We look forward to developing our partnership with the industry and value greatly the constructive advice and guidance given so openly."
Kingston Maurward College is a specialist land-based college located in beautiful countryside in rural Dorset. It, like most other land-based colleges, provides a range of educational provision in various disciplines. The college has an estate of approximately 500 acres of which 35 acres are made up of formal gardens and a lake.
The key curriculum areas are agriculture, animal care, equine, horticulture, IT and outdoor leisure and recreation. The college has approximately 500 full-time students and 4500 part-time students.
The Horticulture Department includes arboriculture, floristry, forestry and horticulture. It offers a range of short and long, full and part-time courses from Level 1 to Level 4. The bulk of the turf related provision is delivered through NVQ2 and NVQ3. The College has a dynamic Industrial Liaison Committee which meets regularly. There is a wide range of sports turf employer representation including golf courses, council sports playing fields and private school playing fields.
The College has a good reputation for providing high quality education. This was confirmed in the recent OFSTED/ALI inspection when it was awarded grade 2's across the board with the exception of IT which was awarded a grade 1. Several previous students have gone on to win the RHS Young Horticulturalist of the Year.