The Landscaper Magazine

#GroundsWeek aims to attract future workforce

#GroundsWeek

New research to coincide with #GroundsWeek finds high levels of job satisfaction and fulfilment among grounds staff and volunteers, urging those outside of the industry to try grounds management

  • Those who work outdoors get greater fulfilment from their roles, and feel more rewarded than those who work behind a desk (77% vs 47%)
  • 63% of grounds staff and volunteers “love” their job, and almost all (90%) are passionate about the sector
  • Key attributes of a career in grounds management include being outdoors and active, taking pride in the end result, working in sport, and the day-to-day variety
  • This #GroundsWeek, the GMA is encouraging more people to work outdoors in sectors like grounds management or horticulture

The Grounds Management Association (GMA), the leading not-for-profit membership body for grounds professionals and volunteers, is marking its annual #GroundsWeek (28th February – 6th March) with a campaign to help tackle the lack of skilled talent coming into the industry.

Targeting young people and those already in employment in other sectors, #GroundsWeek aims to reach those taking stock of their personal and professional trajectories and reassessing what they truly want from life. With the backdrop of the pandemic, fulfilment is key.

The GMA’s recent survey of over three hundred grounds staff and volunteers show high levels of job satisfaction and fulfilment, with 63% saying they “love” their job, and almost all (90%) report being passionate about the sector. Some of the key attributes of a career in grounds management, as reported by both paid staff and volunteers, include:

  • Being outdoors and active
  • Taking pride in the end result
  • Working in sport
  • The day-to-day variety
  • Working as part of a team
  • Learning new skills

Geoff Webb, CEO of the GMA, says: “After highlighting the recruitment crisis, now we want to show the world the true potential of working in grounds management. Work can dominate most of our time so it’s important to consider how a job makes us feel. We know there are challenges across the sector, but we also know that grounds management is a varied and rewarding role – it gives people who love sport and outdoor activities the opportunity to work in a variety of settings like iconic sports venues, educational grounds, parks and estates, as well as across local community sports facilities. By sharing the positives and tackling the misconceptions that exist, we hope to attract more talent into the sector.”

To coincide with this year’s #GroundsWeek, the GMA has also released separate research highlighting that people with jobs in the outdoors, including grounds staff, get greater fulfilment from their roles, with 77% saying they feel rewarded and a strong sense of achievement at the end of each day. This is compared to 47% of people working behind a desk. The research further highlights that those working indoors or behind a desk feel a greater negative impact on their physical (43% vs 35%) and mental health (50% vs 18%), compared with those who work outside.

The research also reveals that 83% of indoor workers would consider a career change, with the desire to learn new things (49%), greater variety of daily tasks (33%), and wanting to spend more time outdoors (73%), being the most commonly cited reasons. What’s more, over a third (34%) of indoor workers feel unfulfilled in their current roles. In contrast, 73% of outdoor workers view their current role, and its future opportunities, as a career for life.

Geoff Webb continues: “Grounds staff work with skill, dedication, and passion to produce quality surfaces for sports and recreational spaces all year round. Labelled the ‘hidden profession’, a key focus for us now is helping more young people and those outside of the sector understand what it involves, and how to get into grounds.”

With a booming sports sector in the UK and growing demand in the turf care sector for skilled talent, the GMA is encouraging more young people and those tempted by a career change to consider a career in grounds management. To encourage more young people into the sector, the GMA has been working closely with schools through its ‘Schools into Stadia’ initiative, which introduces GCSE-level school children to the art of grounds management through a series of one-day workshops, showcasing the profession as an ideal opportunity to work in an outdoor environment within sport.

The GMA is also working to elevate the grounds sector by tackling its misconceptions and upskilling future workforce through its training and qualifications. Its annual salary framework is imperative to shaping the future of grounds management and help employers understand minimum rates of pay based on the skills required at each level.

John Wright, Chair of the GMA Young Board, and Head Grounds Manager at Southampton FC, says:“I joined this sector a decade ago because I love sport and the outdoors, and this is a career that allows me to be involved with both. Now, I can’t imagine doing anything else.

“There are vast opportunities for people in this sector and career fulfilment is something that so many of us within it feel on a day-to-day basis. This #GroundsWeek, I hope young people and those who might not feel satisfied in their current job think about learning more about grounds management, because this could definitely be the right career move for them.”

For more information about the GMA and this year’s GroundsWeek campaign, visit: [thegma.org.uk/groundsweek] or follow on social media.