The Groundsman

January 2013

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COMMENT the Groundsman January 2013 3 It's time to make the grade I n 2006, the Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) launched its strategy 'Challenging Perceptions'. It was a statement of intent, which highlighted the real value and contribution that the profession and wider industry makes across our society. The study highlighted that sports grounds management and maintenance is a significant part of the sport and leisure industry. In England it is estimated to employ circa 20,000 people with an additional estimate of circa 20,000 volunteers. (These figures do not include Scotland, Wales and Ireland as at the time of the research this was outside the scope of the study.) In 2009, the IOG invested in further research to look at the perception of the grounds manager. The study highlighted two key attributes which still hold true today: (1) The changing nature of the work - meaning higher level skills and knowledge are required (2) The contribution of grounds management and maintenance to an organisation's profitability and the quality of its service/product. It is critical that the IOG communicates these two key attributes to both internal and external audiences. Moreover, the IOG recognises the importance of facilitating grounds staff in developing the skills that will enable them to communicate at an individual level. Professional bodies, like the IOG, may attempt to promote the occupation, but ultimately it will be the members themselves who have the greatest impact and influence at their places of work. The IOG believes that sports bodies can and should embrace our skills on a much more proactive basis as, without proper investment or strategies in place that incorporate provision for sports turf management, participation targets will not be met. We are having some success and our influence is growing, but we have to keep knocking on the door and putting our case forward. The IOG is considering the introduction of a 'Ground Grading' scheme that will establish a benchmark by which a ground can be assessed in terms of its overall quality and performance, but will also assess the management of the site as well " " So, in 2013, how good are our playing surfaces? Is the time right to quantify the overall quality of a playing surface and the approach taken to maintaining a facility? With this in mind, the IOG is considering the introduction of a 'Ground Grading' scheme that will establish a benchmark by which a ground can be assessed in terms of its overall quality and performance, but will also assess the management of the site as well. If we are going to progress standards then firstly there needs to be a national framework by which you can measure the quality of the playing surface and those with a responsibility for maintaining it. We would welcome your views and comments on Ground Grading by email to ceo@iog.org. This is the year of legacy after a vintage year of sport in 2012. The Ashes and the British & Irish Lions tour will be eagerly anticipated alongside the annual global and iconic sports events that the sports turf industry plays such a key role in supporting. For the IOG, we will continue to argue the case for groundsmanship and implement our strategic aim to enable our members to 'Grow with the IOG'. Geoff Webb, Chief Executive, Institute of Groundsmanship Visit www.iog.org for more information and digital editions

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