The Groundsman

July 2016

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Visit for more information and digital editions GROW WITH THE IOG 18 the Groundsman July 2016 fter nearly two decades as a Royal Mail employee, 45-year-old Geoff Stacey decided a year ago to complement his job as a postman with his passion for sport and horticulture. Today, after around 180 hours of study and practical assessments, Geoff has completed his IOG Level 2 Extended Certificate in Sports & Amenity Turf Maintenance. "I've always liked watching all sports, taking a keen interest in football, in particular," he says, "plus I've maintained an allotment for many years, and I wanted to combine the two in some way. I thought volunteering at A Online training helps Geoff deliver pristine pitches Royal Mail employee Geoff Stacey is using an online IOG Level 2 qualification to bolster his volunteer groundsmanship skills and experience By: Colin Hoskins a local football club would be the ideal way to do that, so I wrote a 'speculative letter' to a number of local clubs. Ewan Hunter, head groundsman at Nottingham Forest, got in touch and I spent an interesting few hours at the City Ground. Ewan showed me around and demonstrated various aspects of groundsmanship." Geoff continues: "That day spent at Forest's ground convinced me that groundsmanship was something I wanted to do, and Ewan told me about the Institute of Groundsmanship and the benefits of IOG learning. I then set about investigating which course would be best for me, deciding that an online Level 2 City & Guilds accreditation would allow me to complete the modules before the expected deadline at my own pace and in my own time, while not interfering with my day job." In tandem, Chesterfield FC head groundsman Anthony Hayward kindly offered Geoff a volunteer position at the club's training ground and stadium and, a year later and after what Geoff describes as some "great support" by 'phone and email by IOG learning manager Dan Prest, he has gained accreditation. He completed the four Level 2 modules: the three mandatory modules for' Understanding the Basic Principle's of both Plant and Soil science', plus the Identification and Control of Plant Problem's in the Land- based Sector; and as the optional, fourth module, Geoff chose Association Football. Armed with that accreditation, Geoff will now continue his volunteering at Chesterfield FC, helping Anthony and his team on three mornings a week, plus match days (Saturdays and evenings). He will continue to add his key technical skills surrounding the preparation and maintenance of sports surfaces by, marking out and divotting, as well as the operation of mowers, strimmers, brushcutters and hedgecutters, along with a basic knowledge of machine maintenance. Geoff is now looking at making his passion a career and hopes to find suitable employment with an established football club in the near future, none of which would be possible without the support of the IOG. l Volunteer Geoff Stacey says the online course enabled him to complete the modules at his own pace and in his own time

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