It’s been an amazing year for Myerscough College’s apprentices and work-based learners, as they continue to earn national recognition for the quality of their work.
The College’s work-based team continues to work tirelessly across a number of sectors, with greenkeeping and sportsturf being one of our largest schemes with employers and apprentices spanning the length and breadth of the country.
Every year BIGGA (The British and International Golf Greenkeepers' Association) put the best students in the country through their paces in their Student Greenkeeper of the Year competition.
This year was exceptional as three Myerscough College work-based students and apprentices made it through to the finals. Advanced Apprentice, Steve Thorne, was crowned the BIGGA Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year for 2015.
Steve currently works as Deputy Course Manager at Rushmore Golf Club in Salisbury and competed in the final against five other student greenkeepers. He won a Toro Scholarship, including an all-expenses paid eight-week trip includes a residential turf management study course at the University of Massachusetts, USA.
Steve said: “It’s such an honour to win. I know I was up against some tough competition. It’s been a great experience from start to finish, and I feel I’ve also made some friends. America is going to be amazing, I’m looking forward to the turf management course, the GIS and seeing the scale of the Toro HQ.”
“I’d like to thank Rushmore Course Manager Jaime Acton, the General Manager Declan Healy and the whole team for their fantastic support. Also, thank you to Nick Lush, my Tutor at Myerscough College, my wife Rachael for her constant encouragement, the sponsors Toro and everyone at BIGGA House for making me so welcome.”
Another Myerscough College apprentice, Sam Sweetzer, finished as one of two runners up. Sam works as an Assistant Greenkeeper at West Hill Golf Club in Surrey.
Lee Price, Employer Services Manager at Myerscough College said: “We are absolutely delighted for both Stephen and Sam who have been rewarded for the hard work and effort they have put into their studies and employment. They follow in the footsteps of other finalists who have gone onto achieve great things in the industry.”
Two Myerscough College learners were named as the best in the country at the prestigious national award ceremony held by the IOG (Institute of Groundsmanship).
Ryan Powell and Ron Mason were both winners at the annual awards. Ryan, a Level 3 Sportsturf Apprentice, was shortlisted in the Young Groundsman of the Year category, while Advanced Apprentice Ron was named as a finalist in the Horse Racing Grounds Team of the Year category.
The winners achievements were celebrated at an Oscar-style ceremony and dinner hosted by Mark Saggers from talkSPORT radio at the Birmingham Metropole Hotel.
Ryan Powell is currently based at Everton Football Club where he works at their impressive Finch Farm training academy. He is studying a Foundation Degree in Sportsturf after completing his Level 3 Apprenticeship. Ron Mason is Head Groundsman at Nottingham Racecourse and was nominated for his work in improving the course.
Heather Cadman-Marks, Assistant Principal Apprenticeships and Skills at Myerscough College, said:‘’Thanks to our staff for coaching our learners, enabling them to succeed. This is what we're about - changing young people's lives and I'm sure this will have an impact on both Ron and Ryan regarding their future.’’
Ryan said: “It’s fantastic to receive recognition for really just doing my job. Bob Lennon, the team at Everton and my Myerscough College tutors have supported me every step of the way, investing in me through training and education to allow me to develop my skills and experience.
‘’To think I am now starting in Higher Education is something I never thought I would achieve and I am looking forward to the day I graduate.
“Apprenticeships are a great way to start a career and I would recommend them to all young people considering careers in groundsmanship. It’s great that the manager and players have taken time out of their busy schedules to acknowledge my award and to congratulate me.”
A Myerscough College learner was honoured at the 2015 Wyre Business Awards.
Ashley Roche was named Apprentice of the Year at the prestigious black-tie event at the Marine Hall in Fleetwood.
Local lad Ashley is currently undertaking an Advanced Apprenticeship in Workbased Horticulture (Sportsturf), and is on the groundstaff with Fleetwood Town Football Club, looking after the immaculate playing surfaces at Highbury Stadium and the club’s new training facility at Poolfoot Farm.
As part of his qualification, a Myerscough College Work Based Assessor visits him at the club on a regular basis and teaches him the basics of Sportsturf, allowing him to earn as he learns. Ashley only lives a stone's throw away from Highbury and he’s also a lifelong fan of the club, making it the perfect position for him.
Now the 20-year-old has been recognised for the quality of work he’s produced, under the guidance of Fleetwood's Head Groundsman, Dale Frith, who also studied Sportsturf at Myerscough College.
Ashley said: ‘’An apprenticeship is a really good way to learn because as well as learning the trade you get paid. It’s the only realistic way to get into the football industry as it’s so competitive.
‘’My advice is get yourself out there and talk to people. Volunteer at any level, and do anything you can do to get recognised.
‘’Once I’ve finished my apprenticeship I hope to progress with Fleetwood and one day be a head groundsman and get to top of industry. Everyone dreams of a huge move but if I’m at Fleetwood in 10 years I’ll still be happy.’’
Dale Frith said: ‘’I am really pleased for Ash. I studied at Myerscough College myself and the quality of training is first class. It's so nice to be giving something back and this is hopefully the start of a great career for Ashley within the industry.
‘’Ashley initially enrolled on the Intermediate Level 2 Apprenticeship in Sportsturf Groundsmanship, and works full-time as part of our team, while receiving training in the workplace provided by Myerscough College’s specialist assessors for the sportsturf industry.
‘’I hope clubs across the UK will recruit more apprentices as it’s a great way to bring in high quality staff who are eager to learn.’’
And Plant Maintenance apprentice, Katie Long, has been recognised for the quality of her work after being shortlisted in the Women in Construction Awards, with the ceremony taking place later this month.
Myerscough College deliver a wide range of work-based training, apprenticeships and degrees across the full spectrum of Horticultural disciplines. Whether you are a learner or employer, for more information please contact Employer Services on 01995 642255 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Share this article
by Dave Salmon