Hello and welcome to the first episode of International Greenkeepers for hire podcast. This podcast is created for greenkeepers by greenkeepers.
Thanks for joining us on our new podcast adventure.
I’ll start off by introducing myself then I’ll tell you all what this podcast is about. My name is Bradley Tennant, 23 year old Greenkeeper. Originally from the UK currently working over in Australia. I am part of a fantastic team here at International Greenkeepers for hire and you’ll soon get to know the rest of the team in later episodes.
So where did all this originate from?
A simple idea and a group of passionate greenkeepers got together to create a brilliant group. We began by creating a group on Facebook, inviting all of our greenkeeping friends and starting discussions about work. Now here we are venturing into the podcast world.
We created a group for every greenkeeper, whether you’re a casual, full time or volunteer. No matter which country you work in or type of sports turf you produce you are welcome.
Our aim is to create an international hub for greenkeepers, promote our business and help share the art of greenkeeping with others. While having a laugh and a great time along the way.
Some fantastic work is currently being produced all across the globe and if you’d like to see some of our photos or even check out our group head over to Facebook where you can find us under International Greenkeepers for hire.
We want to share these great opportunities and help others experience the world of greenkeeping.
So onto the man that created this fantastic group, Mr Daryl Davidson
So Daryl, first of all welcome. It’s great to have you here and for you to spare a few minutes of your time for the podcast.
Would you like to start by telling us a little about yourself?
Daryl –This is my 20th year in the industry on golf and sports fields and do not regret it one bit. I’m married with 3 kids and a mortgage. I work two jobs plus volunteer on the NSW Sports turf association committee and help run International Greenkeepers with our great team.
What attracted you to greenkeeping?
Daryl – I was like most kids they don’t know what they want. A family friend works in the industry and was telling me about the stadiums and sports fields it got me interested as I loved cricket. I then joined a program in high school called work studies that sent you out to work one day a week. I found work at the local golf course then fell in love with the industry.
Funniest thing you have seen or been a part of during your career?
Daryl – There are too many to list . You have to have a sense of humour to work in all weather conditions getting paid peanuts I met a lot of characters over the years but I’d have to say it was when all the ground staff went kayaking on No1 oval when it went under water.
Best advice you have been given?
Daryl – I have been given a lot of bad advice over the years and great advice But I’d definitely say it was learning from your mistakes and other people’s mistakes.
If you could change one thing about our trade what would it be?
Daryl – I’d like to see the government continue to support apprentices after their apprenticeship in all industries. Too many companies hire apprentices then piss them off once they have completed their time so they can get a new apprentice to get financial incentives from the government and cheap labour. I believe the government should fill the gap in wages for at least 1 year after their apprenticeship to help give the employee more time to find a job and so they do not find themselves panicking to find a job once they become qualified. I’d also like to see compulsory internships here during the 4th year of their apprenticeship. They must work in another part of the industry like golf to sports fields bowls to golf race tracks to bowls.
It could be as simple as a compulsory staff swap for 1 month.
Why have you been inspired to create this group?
Daryl – I’ve seen so many talented Greenkeepers way better than I’ll ever be leave or struggle to find new opportunities in our industry. For years I have been trying to think of ways to keep young talent in the industry. Our work exchange and work experience program really got the ball rolling , it was working so well I thought this should be shared with everyone in our industry. So I started the Facebook group to help people find new opportunities and also show everyone that our industry is all over the world, wherever sport is played our services are required.
Responding to recent media do you think there is currently a crisis in the greenkeeping sector at the moment?
Daryl – I think because of all the negative media it’s kind of helped the managers up top and owners etc understand they don’t want their ground to be on the news for the wrong reasons. Putting lipstick on a pig is not acceptable for a field that has millions of dollars of athletes running on it at full steam. Spending $1 million on a field that has $50 million dollars of assets running around is a no brainer paying the Groundsman $50000 is a whole other story.
Being the manager of the sports pitches at Sydney Uni, what hurdles did you face and how did you overcome them?
Daryl – Obviously dealing with over 40 sporting clubs and not enough green space is always going to be fun. But the last 4 years since taking over as the Head Groundsman I have worked with management to help take the pressure and political decisions off our hands. If we think an oval is closed due to weather etc it’s closed, if the clubs for some reason need to play or train no matter what the conditions they can plead their case to management and they make the final call. Management pick up the bill for any damage and we can sleep well knowing we are not going to be blamed for the mess they made. It’s not the best situation and it can be depressing at times seeing all your hard work turn to mud but it’s better than having no support at all.
Knowing how hard it can be to stay in greenkeeping in your opinion what’s the most common reason for people to leave the greenkeeping trade?
Daryl – Obviously money, most of the time it is family commitments they just cannot afford to support their family on a Greenkeepers wage, most Greenkeepers like myself work two jobs to get ahead. But one thing I have noticed is the rural areas where a kid does an apprenticeship in a small town who doesn’t have a job after completing their training as the club cannot afford to pay qualified wages so they hire a new apprentice creating the exact same problem, giving them no choice but to leave the town to stay in the industry or find another job in town.
And finally how do you think we can get more people to take up greenkeeping?
Daryl – By advertising the industry, showing the public we do more than just cut grass. And by showing them there are plenty of career opportunities in the turf industry like being a greenkeeper or running a golf course, owning a business or even working in a lab.
Thank you for your time Daryl, it’s been great talking to you and good luck for the future.
I’d also like to thank you all for joining us on this podcast experience, we hope to bring you a new podcast at the end of every month. In the meantime if you liked this podcast please like, share and subscribe to us. Also any feedback you have feel free to give me or the group a message, we’d gratefully take it on board. It’ll make a massive difference and allow us to produce more podcasts in the future!
Until next time, have a good one