Grounds Management Association celebrates #GroundsWeek with new research
The Grounds Management Association (GMA), the leading not-for-profit membership body for grounds professionals and volunteers, marks its annual #GroundsWeek (28th February – 6th March).
This year, the GMA has released new research highlighting that people with jobs in the outdoors, including grounds staff, are more fulfilled than those who work indoors behind a desk.
It finds those who work outdoors 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.
Now in its second year, this #GroundsWeek takes place alongside the ongoing global pandemic which has impacted every aspect of life. The research reveals 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 latest research shows that 83% of indoor workers would consider a career change, with the desire to learn new things (49%), have a greater variety of daily tasks (33%), and wanting to spend more time outdoors (73%), being the most commonly cited reasons for considering a change. 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.
As a result of the pandemic, the UK and other countries are witnessing the ‘great resignation’, with many people using this time as an opportunity to take stock of their personal and professional trajectories and reassess what they truly want from life.
A separate survey of over three hundred grounds staff and volunteers show high levels of satisfaction and fulfilment, finding that 63% “love” their job, and almost all (90%) are 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: “Work can dominate most of our time so it’s important to consider how a job makes us feel. 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.
“Grounds staff work with skill, dedication, and passion to produce quality surfaces for sports and recreational spaces all year round. Anyone looking to stay active and feel challenged should get involved in turf care. Labelled the ‘hidden profession’, we’re now 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 the future workforce through its training and qualifications. Its annual salary framework is imperative to shaping the future of grounds management and helping employers understand minimum rates of pay based on the skills required at each level.
Recently, GMA is also focused on encouraging the younger generation into sport, having launched a 'Schools into Stadia' initiative, which introduces school children to the art of groundsmanship through a series of one-day workshops, showcasing the profession as an ideal opportunity to work in an outdoor environment within sport.
In 2019, GMA conducted research to show that with the right care for community pitches, and crucially, volunteers, 1.4 million more individuals could play rugby and football weekly, and half a million more could play cricket each season, which equates to 4 million more football matches being played on existing pitches every year.
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