What is it like being an apprentice?

4 March 2019 Feature Article



To mark National Apprenticeship Week, we’re taking a closer look at one golf club that’s been keen to engage with apprentices.


Trentham Golf Club is a 18-hole members’ club in Stoke-on-Trent. The 125-year-old parkland course has previously hosted Open Championship Qualifying and national amateur events. 


Alongside The Greenkeepers Training Committee, which pioneered the new Trailblazer apprenticeship scheme, BIGGA is working to encourage youngsters to consider taking on a career within greenkeeping through work-based training.


The benefits for employers can also be huge, including gaining access to local, ambitious and inexpensive talent.


Reece Tomalin became the UK’s first young person to be enrolled on the new Level 2 Apprenticeship, the Certificate in Golf Greenkeeping. The youngster undertook a two-year apprenticeship under the direction of Ed Stant and scored a Distinction in his overall final mark.


In the first part of this series, we speak to Reece about how he found the experience and how it set him up for the rest of his career.



How did you get into greenkeeping?


I got into greenkeeping because I always wanted to work outside and the college environment wasn’t for me. I didn’t want to sit inside all day and then go home and sit inside again. I just wanted to be outside, no matter what the weather.


I like being hands on, speaking to the members, getting on with the other lads that you work with. The group are all together and there’s a bond because you’ve worked together for so long. If you need help, you can just go to each other and they’ll help you out.


Why did you choose to do an apprenticeship?


It’s hands on and so I was able to do the job as well as earn a qualification at the same time.


How did you find the end-point assessments?


You’ve got to put a lot of work in for the two years that you’re doing the apprenticeship. You’ve got to make sure that your work is on point and make sure you’re putting in a lot of effort and detail so when it comes to the end, the answers are already there because you can back them up with your experience. 


Did you access the GTC’s learning resources to help with your studies?


They were good because when you got the questions you could refer to the learning manual, have a look what it said and then put that into your answers. 


How has your BIGGA membership helped you?


I went to BTME last year. That was an experience and it was interesting to see all the different stalls that were there. 


We went to the Young Greenkeepers’ Conference, where you found out other people’s views about how greenkeeping was for them and how they’ve built themselves up.


What are your career ambitions?


I’d like to stay at Trentham for a bit longer and then later on I want to go to Dubai and see what the world has to offer in greenkeeping.


For more information about greenkeeping apprenticeships, head to www.the-gtc.co.uk/learning/apprenticeships/or contact Fiona Lyttle or Emma Willis at The GTC by calling 01347 838640 or email emma@the-gtc.co.uk


Karl Hansell
BIGGA | Communications Executive


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