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IOG implement Youth Development Plan
February 28, 2011

A Youth Development Action Plan to encourage more young people into the groundscare industry has been announced today by the Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG), the leading membership organisation for everyone involved in groundscare and the maintenance and management of open spaces.

Building on the success of the IOG's 'Young IOG' initiatives with schools and colleges, as well as the launch of apprenticeships, the IOG Youth Development Action Plan is targeted to:

-Provide a nationwide programme of qualifications that schools and land-based colleges can deliver as part of the curriculum;

-Increase the number of accredited qualifications available;

-Introduce the IOG Young People recruitment/mentoring programme; and see

-The IOG become an approved City & Guilds/NPTC delivery body as well as a Licensed Authority for the Duke of Edinburgh Awards.

"Our survey of the industry in 2007 identified that too few people were signing up for a career in groundsmanship," says IOG Chief Executive Geoff Webb, "and as an integral leg of the IOG's Challenging Perceptions strategy we have subsequently worked successfully with partners to encourage younger entrants to the profession.

"It is now time to take our work a stage further, by instigating a number of initiatives that will see us working closely with schools and colleges as well as, for example, National Governing Bodies of Sport in addition to introducing the Young IOG Award as part of our successful annual Awards."

He continues: "This process will start with the schools - we'll be producing a focused careers booklet that will be distributed to every school in the land - while simultaneously building on and enhancing our already successful partnerships with a number of colleges (West Anglia, Duchy, GOSTA, MWMAC, Oaklands, Reaseheath and Sparsholt).

The Youth Development Plan builds on the success of a number of IOG initiatives in recent years to not only encourage more youngsters into the groundscare sector, but also to provide a framework for their continual development.

This began with the pilot Pathfinder project run in conjunction with Nottingham City Education Authority; then work at schools/colleges - Ashton on Mersey, Harefield, Accrington, Woodthorpe and Merchants Taylor School - as well as a project at Dundee City Council. More recently, the IOG has introduced the Apprenticeship Scheme.

"There is no doubt that the groundscare industry is an ageing profession, so we need to do something now to secure the future of the quality of our playing surfaces and open spaces," Geoff Webb adds. "At the same time, of course, there is an urgent need for more training/short courses to be accredited to National Occupational Standards - then young people will be able to clearly see that there is a structured and progressive career, and reward system, ahead of them.

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