The Groundsman

May 2015

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GRASSROOTS 13 the Groundsman May 2015 Visit www.iog.org for more information and digital editions he introduction by Maltings College of a City and Guilds Level 2 Diploma in Horticulture initially saw students gaining experience planting and maintaining landscaped areas. But tutor Dan Prest saw an opportunity for the students to gain real working experience on fine turf, after a conversation with Dave Weston of Stainland Cricket Club. Formed in 1884, Stainland CC was last year forced to resign from the Halifax League due to a lack of players. Possessing a large village ground, the future looked bleak: would the venue be left to seed? Not if Dave Weston and Dan Prest had their way! At the same time that links were being established with the local T Bowled over by students A college in Halifax is not only preparing students for a future in horticulture but its recently-introduced Level 2 course has also helped in the resurrection of a local cricket club By: Colin Hoskins junior school, which introduced cricket to its curriculum, the work by the club's existing volunteer groundsman Brian Evans (who has served the club for 40 or more years!) was being complemented by Maltings students who worked at the ground over a five-week period. Other clubs subsequently started using the pitch and some junior representative cricket was played. Twelve months on and a Stainland team has been reformed and is part of the local evening league. The Level 2 Diploma requires students to also maintain areas of fine turf, so Stainland's ground presented the ideal opportunity for them to not only gain experience but also to be assessed doing a variety of tasks while at the same time helping to get the club back up and running. As part of the qualification (within the turf maintenance unit) the students gather evidence and are assessed mowing, scarifying and aerating. "Indeed," says Dan Prest, "the venture has allowed the students to pull together a lot of what they have learnt by applying practical skills and theory-based knowledge gained in a working environment - the very ethos of the college." He adds: "In addition to turf care, the students have also applied tree pruning skills, been able to identify weeds, pests and diseases, as well as consider annual maintenance plans, surface playability and performance quality standards, which are all aspects above and beyond the 'formal' Level 2." The plan going forwards is for the students to return to the club in September to put the ground 'to bed' for the year, carrying out scarifying, mowing and topdressing. As this is new college course, the students have been lucky able to access new machinery and equipment (from Bob Wild, Halifax), which includes John Deere and Stihl. Among the students (see panel item, left), two are progressing onto Level 3, one is considering a career in horticulture and another is looking for a career in garden maintenance. l What the students say Molly – 17 I am thinking about doing a Level 3 in Horticulture when I finish Level 2, which is a really enjoyable course. I enjoy working outside and using the machinery, learning about different tools and methods, and I know I have a few job options in the industry to pick from. Hannah – 17 I am really enjoying the course. Using the equipment has helped me gain confidence. Nathan – 17 The course has allowed me to learn about the environment, plants and landscapes. Thanks to the course I can now progress to Level 3 and develop future job prospects. I can also expand my own part-time gardening business. Molly (centre), Hannah (second from left) and Nathan (far right) give a helping hand at Stainland CC

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