The Toro Company and Reesink Turfcare have agreed to continue a year-on-year sponsorship deal with the Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG). The deal will particularly focus on supporting the activities of the IOG’s Young Board of Directors (YBD).
The YBD is leading the IOG ‘Get into Grounds’ strategy by encouraging 14 to16-year-olds, school leavers and young people to consider a career in groundsmanship. Most members of the group entered the industry by volunteering at a local sports club and have progressively learnt the skills and gained the experience they need to pursue a rewarding career in groundsmanship.
This also includes funding for diversity to create programmes to enhance opportunities for women and BME groups to advance careers in the industry.
The YBD is currently updating its strategy for the next three years, which will include an aim to engage with activities that attract a wider diversity of people into the industry. This ongoing sponsorship will allow the Board to do this.
The YBD is currently made up of 10 directors, who are all aged under 28, and they selflessly give up their own time to support YBD initiatives by, for example, attending and supporting a range of career events.
Commenting on Toro and Reeskink’s ongoing support, YBD current chair, Anthony Facey, said: “Toro have been fantastic support over the last three years and I’m so pleased the company is willing to commit long term to the Board. Without this help the YBD would not be able to achieve its aims and objectives.”
David Cole, managing director at Reesink Turfcare, said: “Our sponsorship of the YBD demonstrates the commitment of Toro and Reesink Turfcare to education and raising awareness of the great careers available in grounds maintenance and management. Furthermore, we are proud to play a small part in supporting the hard work of the Board, and their admirable efforts to reach out to and attract the next generation into the industry. In particular, we are very keen to support their drive to broaden the gender diversity across grounds staff roles.”
IOG chief executive, Geoff Webb, added: “We are grateful to the Toro Company and Reesink Turfcare for their support for this crucial area of developing opportunities for young, capable grounds staff. The IOG’s latest independent research has highlighted a lack of women working in sports turf as well as a lack of BME groups.
“Combine these facts with an ageing profile of in situ grounds staff and it is clear that we have to develop new programmes and initiatives to raise awareness of our profession and advance opportunities to make sure we have a vibrant and diverse future workforce.”