The Future of Sports Turf Higher Education Needs Your Opinion

There is a proposed new Level 5 Sports Turf Technical Manager Apprenticeship on the horizon with the option of including a Sports Turf Foundation Degree.  What are your thoughts on this?

In October 2023, a new Level 3 Advanced Sports Turf Technician Apprenticeship was made available (for details please see Institute for Apprenticeship and Technical Education (IFATE) website).  This new progression route builds on the Level 2 Sports Turf Operatives or Level 2 Greenkeeping and/or supports those seeking to develop their supervisory skills, knowledge and behaviours in sports turf. 

Based on the role and duties of a sports turf manager, IFATE have now recognised that a continued progression route to a higher level 5 apprenticeship qualification in sports turf may be needed.  

To ascertain the taught knowledge, skills and behaviours for a level 5 sports turf manager, a new survey is now available to canvas industry opinion.   If you have a vested interest in sports turf, sports turf operatives (groundstaff/groundskeepers) and general management of sports turf (e.g. any sport that uses a predominantly natural grass surface), then please complete the survey:

Survey: 

https://forms.office.com/e/iYyA7Y3L06

Further to this, the survey is seeking opinion for utilising an existing level 5 university sports turf qualification as an educational programme towards achieving a level 5 Sports Turf Technical Manager apprenticeship.  Specifically, utilising a ‘Foundation Degree in Sports Turf Management’.

Why a Foundation Degree?  The newly developed recommended ‘Duties’ of a level 5 Sports Turf Technical Manager indicated a role that is based on science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).  The Foundation Degree in Sports Turf is a longstanding STEM-based higher education sports turf qualification.  The existence of the FD is potentially readymade to meet this need.  Over 200 sports turf professionals have completed the FD since 2013 and just over 50 have progressed further and graduated with a Bachelor of Science with honours (BSc. Hons).  It appears to be a successful qualification for technical sports turf professionals, however there may be barriers preventing more individuals from achieving this qualification, namely university tuition fees. 

Why Apprenticeships? Completion of a formal apprenticeship is a recognised qualification that confirms that an individual has completed at least a year of training and education and has sat an independently assessed and regulated examination, known as an End-Point Assessment.  Arguably, the UK Government values Apprenticeships and generates funding to incentivise and meet the costs of this training for employers.   

If the turf industry is of the opinion that the Foundation Degree in Sports Turf Management has a valuable part of Level 5 Apprenticeship for Sports Turf, then there is a good case to include this qualification. 

How much will it cost?  In summary, a Level 5 apprentice’s employer could access about a 95-100% reduction in the fees.  An apprentice would have no fee.  An employer would need to facilitate an average of six hours a week for an apprentice’s off-the-job training.

Please complete the survey if you would like to contribute on the future of sports turf education and training for higher level apprenticeships:

Survey: https://forms.office.com/e/iYyA7Y3L06

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The Sports Turf Trailblazer Group is comprised of sports turf employers, training providers and a End Point Assessment Awarding body and the Institute For Apprenticeship And Technical Education (IFATE).  The Trailblazer contacts are Daniel Ratling and Dr. Jonathan Knowles.

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