The Groundsman

February 2014

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COMMENT 3 the Groundsman February 2014 Visit for more information and digital editions n the last issue of the Groundsman I highlighted how Jason Booth is joining the IOG to head up our Grounds and Natural Turf Improvement Programme. This is an expansion of the already successful Regional Advisors programme we established five years ago with the England & Wales Cricket Board, and we now have additional backers in The Football Association, the Rugby League and Sport England. Last month we conducted interviews across the country to establish eight new Regional Pitch Advisor roles and we will soon be appointing the successful candidates. In parallel Chris Gray, who joined the IOG last August as head of education, has been busy analysing our portfolio of training and education courses and throughout 2014 will be introducing new courses and updating existing ones. We will also be refocusing our approach to membership with new categories to be announced in the coming months and, of course, building up towards SALTEX and to our Conference and Awards. Our Young Directors programme is evolving, with new recruits joining the Board as others progress with their careers; this group continues to come up with new initiatives with vigour and enthusiasm. In short, we are changing to meet the modern day demands of an industry which at both grassroots and professional level faces a range of challenges that the IOG seeks to represent and overcome. While the continued sales of sport grounds, aligned with closures, threaten both livelihoods and opportunity, the many great examples of groundsmanship are also having an impact and producing positive case studies that are turning heads of decision makers, making them take serious notice of the importance of investment in sports turf management. This may well be a light bulb moment: sports bodies are becoming more proactive in their approach and helping to get across to the many clubs the fact that maintaining a playing surface is not simply a matter of cutting the grass. The door is open - we just have to push it to create opportunity for this great profession and industry. It is not all rosy in the garden, there remain many examples of underpaid staff, budgetary cut backs, lack of opportunity and pressure as the demand for the perfect surface coupled with long unsociable hours causes considerable stress to many groundsmen. This will be a continual challenge to our industry across all sports, especially as the many sports we cover are seen by millions across the world (via TV or Internet) which leads to increased expectations that local playing surfaces should match the quality seen at many iconic stadia. The IOG is here to support and represent you, but we need your help and support, too. If you know someone who could join us then get them involved and help create a vibrant network that can take our profession forwards. So, expect change and make change. Join the IOG and get involved and help us to raise your profile, status and standing. Geoff Webb, Chief Executive, The Institute of Groundsmanship Expect change I In short, we are changing to meet the modern day demands of an industry, which at both grassroots and professional level faces a range of challenges that the IOG seeks to represent and overcome " " Contributors Karen Maxwell Managing editor Colin Hoskins Features editor Chris Gray IOG head of education and training Paul Groves Product editor

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