Leicester City has launched its own specialist Sports Turf Academy. Based in Seagrave, the STA aims to inspire the next generation of sports turf professionals. LCFC facilities will provide live environments for trials and research while the STA will offer services to venues of all turf-based sports while developing skilled professionals
Based at the Club’s state-of-the-art new training facility in Seagrave, north Leicestershire, the STA aims to inspire the next generation of sports turf students by offering an elite training environment, with access to the latest technology and expertise.
The Academy is built around four distinct pillars – Education & Training, Technical Services, Tournament Support and Trials & Research – to support the development, diversification and professionalisation of the sports turf industry.
“The Training & Education pillar includes specialist provision of sports turf educational packages, ranging from short-courses to apprenticeships to degree-level internships. The Academy will seek to add value to all those in sports turf education by utilising a blended learning experience of practical, online and classroom-based teaching. This flexibility in delivery means there are no fixed academic terms and provision will be available throughout the year. Furthermore, the Academy will look to support the sports turf voluntary sector with their training needs too,” a statement on the club’ website reads.
Through its Sports Turf Academy Technical Services pillar, improvements will be made to grassroots football pitches. With grassroots football set to receive almost GBP550M* of Government funding over the coming years to make playing surfaces safer, the STA will set a new standard in pitch improvement and offer tailored advice to grassroots clubs to maximise the potential of their funds.
Tournament support will come in the form of highly skilled seasonal staff the STA will make available to venues hosting turf-based sporting events. As well as ensuring venues meet and exceed exacting standards set by governing bodies, the programme is aimed at enabling professional development and the cross-sport sharing of best practice.
The STA’s fourth pillar of Trials and Research will focus on the innovation and emerging technologies entering the sports turf industry. A key area for investigation is the relationship between turf management and player performance. The unique position of the Academy offers a world class prospect – placing cutting edge sports turf research into ‘live’ in situ trials – a first for elite sport played on grass. Therefore, the Sports Turf Academy will offer unrivalled access to a real working environment from its Seagrave base, carrying out independent research work that will impartially inform the industry.
Leicester City’s Head of Sports Turf & Grounds, John Ledwidge, said: “The Sports Turf Academy can become a truly progressive asset for the entire sports turf industry – a hub of innovation and professional development right here in Leicester.
“Its model is designed to optimise research and development in an applied setting, while providing high standards in service across the sector. Our aim is to be world leaders in the training and education of the current and next generation of sports turf and grounds staff, while applying that learning to live working environments.
“This is a fantastic industry in which young people can consider a career and we’re passionate about supporting that journey, while giving something back to stakeholders in our communities and in the sports turf sector.”