The Grounds Management Association (GMA) has announced that its annual awareness campaign, #GroundsWeek, is returning from 18 – 24 March 2024.
The campaign, now in its fourth year, recognises the work of turf care volunteers and professionals in the UK, with a focus on inspiring new recruits to consider a career in the industry.
Research carried out by the GMA over recent years has highlighted a potential employment crisis, with a lack of new recruits entering the industry and a significant number of existing workers leaving. It’s not all doom and gloom, however, as research carried out in 2023 revealed that more young people are working in the grounds management sector than in previous years.
Grounds staff under the age of 35 now make up 27% of the workforce compared to 19% in 2022. There has also been an increase from 3% to 5% in the number of grounds managers aged 24 and under, and an increase in the percentage of grounds managers stating that they became involved in grounds management due to apprenticeships from 13% to 16%.
The number of people who became involved in the grounds sector ‘by accident’ has also reduced from 13% to 10%. The GMA’s ‘Sport’s Hidden Profession’ report in 2010 recorded that nearly 20% of grounds staff became involved by accident, therefore significantly more people are now making a conscious decision to pursue a career in grounds management. This change highlights that the grounds care sector is becoming increasingly recognised as a viable career route which other GMA initiatives, like the Grounds Management Framework, support by providing a key path of development for those looking to progress in the sector.
Geoff Webb, CEO of the GMA, says: “A key part of our role advocating for the industry and our members is laying the foundations for new talent to enter the sector. It’s hugely encouraging to see, after three years, and lots of hard work introducing the sector to new audiences, that the number of young people entering the sector is starting to rise.
“There’s still a lot of work to be done, but initiatives like #GroundsWeek can have a really important role in encouraging more people to consider working in our wonderful industry.
“To help raise awareness and make as much noise as possible, we’re encouraging grounds staff and sports clubs across the country to engage with the campaign online and celebrate the vital contribution of grounds staff in making sport possible.”
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