The Groundsman

March 2015

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IOG BEST PRACTICE 27 the Groundsman March 2015 Visit for more information and digital editions Multi-sport grounds excellence Established in 1999, Sports Ground Services currently has contracts with the Parks Trust, Milton Keynes Council and The National Trust as well as parish councils, schools and cricket and football clubs in and around the Milton Keynes area, including Great Brickhill cricket club and Ascot Park cricket ground, MK Wanderers FC and Walton High School. Notably, the company has held the contract for Campbell Park cricket ground since its inception. This, the only first class cricket ground in Milton Keynes, has played host to some of the world's elite players such as Sir Viv Richards, Shane Warne, Courtney Walsh, Steve Waugh and Jacques Kallis. It is also used by Northamptonshire County Cricket Club as its out ground for the second team, and it hosts the first team for Twenty20 fixtures. The company has vast experience in maintaining and developing cricket squares, football and rugby pitches as well as bowling greens. In addition, it sets out and marks hard surfaces such as tennis and netball courts and playgrounds plus marks out an array of natural turf pitches, including football, rugby, cricket, hockey, field events (shot, discus, javelin), lacrosse, rounders, softball and korfball. Dean again: "Of course, we are charged with carrying out different tasks at the different grounds, depending on the requirements and budgets, and it is good to see that an increasing number of sites are investing more into their playing facilities and are seeing improvements through regular vertidraining, slitting and fertilising programmes." Education pathway Despite the workload, Dean has lost no time in establishing a groundscare- based education pathway, working closely with the IOG (he is now in his third year of study with the IOG) to complement his A/AS Levels in business studies and ICT. This included an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship in Horticulture (environmental and land- based), BTEC Level 2 First Diploma in Sport (Performance), ECB Level 2 Cricket Coaching Award (for under 11s and 12s), NPTC Level 2 in the Safe Use of pesticides (PA1, PA6), the IOG Cricket Foundation Parts A (spring/summer) and B (autumn/winter), and Intermediate, as well as his Level 2 Award, certificate and diploma in work-based horticulture. Indeed, as part of his more recent Levels 2 and 3 qualifications, the IOG tutor has also used voice recordings from Dean to collect evidence towards the accreditations. In addition, when the IOG was calling out for volunteers to help the Young IOG Board with its 'Get into Grounds' Heritage Lottery-funded project, Dean stepped forward and, as result, is now a member of the Young Board. "I liked what the board is doing to attract young people into the industry," he says, adding that, all my friends, who are still at university now know about and understand what groundsmanship is all about." The last word is with tutor Gary Armstrong: "Dean is now into his third year of study with the IOG and in all this time he has never missed an assessment date and is always on time. He's a model student." l My favourite meal: Chinese takeaway My favourite music: It's a real mix, a bit of everything from Oasis to Avicii My interests outside of work: I play cricket and football, have a season ticket at Manchester City and have a real love of sport in general The most challenging part of my career: So far it has to be the first year I worked through the cricket end-of-season renovations. It's our busiest time of year and very physically challenging Who I most admire in, or out, of the industry and why: I've said before it's my dad because he's the reason I got in to this industry and I've seen the hard work he's put in over the years to make the company a success The best piece of advice I can give to IOG members: Never stop learning. Facts and Favourites i Dean is a keen cricketer and particularly enjoys looking after cricket pitches

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