The Groundsman

May 2014

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MEMBER PROFILE 18 the Groundsman May 2014 Visit www.iog.org for more information and digital editions ackie Evans began working in the groundscare industry at the age of 14, when she helped her father, Bryan Evans head groundsman at Wellington College, Crowthorne, Berkshire, for an extra bit of pocket money during school holidays. She enjoyed the physicality and variation of the job so much that at the age of 16 she applied for and got a full-time groundsperson position at the school. Her education however, was far from over and while studying for NVQ Level 2 Sports Turf and Amenity Horticulture at Merrist Wood College in Guildford her outstanding commitment to learning earned her the IOG Bill Ponton Award for The Most Improved Student Under 18 Years Of Age and the SISIS Award for The Best Student In Turf Management. Keen on continually furthering her education, Jackie has also attended one day IOG courses including Part A&B Level 1 Cricket Courses as well as the IOG Synthetic Surfaces course. All of which has helped her career progression. She is now deputy head groundsperson at Wellington College, where she supervises five members of staff – including four men and one women. Commenting on how she's coped with working in a male-dominated industry, she says: "it hasn't been easy. Some people didn't believe that I was capable of doing the work and managing a male team, with older members, has been difficult at times. However, a big part of me wanted to prove everybody wrong and 16 years later I'm still in the industry and enjoying what I do - although these days it seems much more acceptable for J Groundsmanship is the perfect career choice for new mum Jackie Evans Karen Maxwell finds out why Jackie Evans joined the profession and how motherhood has affected her role By: Karen Maxwell a woman to work in the industry." Jackie would like to see even more sport-loving women realise the benefits of joining the industry. She also believes that continual education is a real benefit to everyone. "To learn new things and better yourself surely has to be a good thing," she says. "With IOG courses now being available online it makes it a lot easier for people like me, who are very busy with work and unable to travel, to still learn and progress. I'm very lucky that the Level 3 course I'm studying for now is flexible with regards to assignment deadlines - especially now that I'm also juggling with looking after my new baby." It doesn't look as though her pregnancy slowed her down too much though. "While I was pregnant, after being risk assessed, I was given lighter duties – such as more paper work and training up new members of staff," she says. Now that she's getting to grips with being a mother to baby Benjamin, she's already planning her return to work after maternity leave. "I'm keen to get back to the job. I plan to find a childminder to look after Benjamin and my partner and I can also juggle parental care around differing work shifts," she says. l Jackie with Benjamin

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