The Groundsman

May 2014

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GROW WITH THE IOG 31 the Groundsman May 2014 Visit www.iog.org for more information and digital editions ince Luton Borough Council first engaged with the IOG as a training partner some six years ago, more than 40 council employees have been trained to the standards of nationally recognised qualifications. From 2008 to the present day, the IOG's education and training department has helped to draw up an annual training programme, which meets the council's overall objectives, as well as professional development goals of the individual members of staff. "The council originally engaged with the IOG because of the IOG's recognition as a leading industry training provider," Luton Borough Council's parks development and business manager Jane Conway explains. "Since the partnership began, we have been able to collectively focus on our key needs, reduce training costs and ensure that value for money was achieved." IOG regional pitch advisor, qualified lecturer and approved trainer Ian Norman has developed a solid relationship with the council since the partnership began. "I had worked with the council before the bespoke partnership came into force so I already had a good dialogue and working relationship with the council's management and staff and understood some of the historical challenges within individuals' roles at council-managed grounds," he says. Jane values this continued dialogue: "Through face-to-face discussions with the IOG, prior to setting out the bespoke training programme, together we've ensured that the programme would meet the business needs of the council ," she says. S IOG training is fit for purpose at Luton Borough Council The IOG has had a long association with Luton Borough Council in providing bespoke training that best suits the needs of the council's grounds management employers By: Karen Maxwell A key cost-cutting measure was the fact that the majority of training sessions were hosted at one venue, Wardown Park depot, which Jane says "provided good use of staff time and resources, saving on travel expenses and administration costs. The co- ordination of training activities also reduced staff downtime". Hands-on help A major benefit of IOG training is that Ian has already achieved the qualifications being taught and he properly understands the importance of assessing each candidate's learning capability so he can match course delivery to individual learning needs. "Programme adaptions depended on the learning style of the candidates - whether audio, visual or kinetic. My role is to ensure that the course delivery meets the learning styles of the individual, and to build a professional relationship with the candidates. Ensuring that they are engaged in a learning environment that is right for them – allowing them to achieve their own and the council's desired learning goals," Ian says. Some of the training undertaken by the council included: PA1 and PA6 spraying qualification; safe and effective use of strimmers, brushcutters, hedgecutters; and pedestrian and ride- on mowers. According to Ian, each course covered the inspection of machines, the safety of those using the equipment and practical, safe operation as appropriate – depending on the circumstances in which members of staff were or would be working in. "The IOG always strives to maintain the quality of its courses to continue professional development of all members of its teaching staff, as well as seeking feedback from those trained. This ensures that the courses are kept up to date and appropriate, for the needs of the professional industry, and adopting new technologies that enhance the individual's learning experience. Often candidates want to know 'what's next' in improving their knowledge and skills." l Programme adaptions depended on the learning style of the candidates - whether audio, visual or kinetic " " Ian Norman IOG trainer with apprentices Sam Younger and Sam Martin

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