The country’s in lockdown, face to face meetings are a no-no and social distancing and virtual meetings are the new way to go. Events and sports games have stopped altogether, with virtual events and online communication becoming the new norm.
But not everything has come to a standstill. That’s because recent circumstances hasn’t stopped the progress of a new initiative being developed to help with developing the talent of experienced turfcare industry professionals. Head groundsman and turf managers have been communicating and working together through virtual meetings behind the scenes to flesh out how the scheme will work. It’s designed to create new opportunities for experienced turf professionals to learn more and develop their skills.
The initiative, thought up by those in the industry, was created out of a need to recognise that existing staff need ongoing development and to more feel fulfilled in their careers. A lack of fulfillment and ongoing progression has been an issue across the industry for some time. At last year’s Turf Business Summit in Portugal, many turf managers felt that this has been a key issue affecting staff retention, motivation and fulfillment for quite some time. When staff feel undervalued or aren’t developing, they start to feel demotivated and it’s at this point that they start to leave an industry. This is what’s been happening in the turfcare industry – and many managers have felt compelled to get involved and create the scheme. The programme will both enhance and build upon skills, provide new opportunities and enable new experiences. Since the Summit, turf managers have remained enthusiastic, committed and with a clear vision of how they can make it come to life.
How can it help?
With less new recruits coming into the industry, managers see the importance of at least trying to boost retention of existing talented and committed staff. The project undergoing development, is a long-term solution to many staff’s frustrations with wanting to progress in their careers and learn new skills – but not having enough of the right opportunities.
Like all the initiatives developing from the yearly Summit, the talent development programme was formed by a group of committed turfcare professionals, including Stuart Kerrison (Essex CCC, Danny Huffman (AJ Bell Stadium), Stuart Wilson (Croke Park), Steve Braddock (Arsenal FC), Scott Tingley (Watford FC), Dave Roberts (Liverpool FC), Lee Sayers (London Golf Club), Danny Negus (Devonshire Park Lawn Tennis Club) and William Relf (Loughborough University). With some careful planning, the initiative has the ability to potentially operate on a yearly basis, enabling working opportunities across sports and venues, shaking up the industry to build and strengthen talent.
What’s happened so far?
Since the idea formed, the turfcare managers involved have formed a steering group to share ideas and explore how the initiative will work. There have been a number of discussions and, most recently, the group had a virtual meeting to discuss the project in more detail and put plans into place. What’s in store will certainly be a very exciting prospect. Head groundsman of Devonshire Park, Danny Negus, said: “I’m thoroughly excited to be working on a project alongside some truly fantastic people. If it all goes to plan, we’ll have a positive impact on the future generation of those in an industry that I care so much about.”
The issue it addresses
In the lead up to the Summit, extensive research is carried out, with staff across the industry asked their views about the challenges they face and the wider industry issues. For some time, the industry has faced an increasingly tough challenge of retaining staff. Turf managers felt that, unlike some other industries, there is a cycle of experienced staff leaving the industry after a certain time, either due to reasons of salary or feeling like there’s no room to grow and develop. This, and a lack of staff development, were aspects that really stood out as issues for many staff surveyed and are industry-wide issues that need to be addressed.
With the initiative in place, it can help to develop staff by creating opportunities for staff to develop and grow their skills. It will also enable professionals to explore future roles they’d like to evolve into, in their career. Turf managers will be invited to take part in the scheme, with more details to be revealed in coming months. Speaking about the initiative, golf course manager of London Golf Club, Lee Sayers, said: “The team has progressed a very workable guide to enable invaluable experiences and thought-provoking visits to further turf professionals’ horizons and their ability to further their careers. The experiences will enable them to make informed decisions on where their work-life choices can lead them.
More virtual events
Throughout the year, more discussions, research will be happening to put solid plans in place. There is also the possibility of planning some virtual events in the run-up to the next Summit event, which is still being planned, providing that the situation around the Coronavirus lockdown is lifted. Head groundsman at Arsenal FC, Steve Braddock, added: “I’m really delighted the team has come up with some great ideas and plans to move the programme forward. We’ve worked really well as a team and share the same desire to have something that will benefit people and the industry in the future.” Stay tuned for more details!
The third Turf Business Summit will once again bring together over 50 influential turfcare professionals to Barcelona FC & PGA Catalunya from October 11-13, 2020.