Completed Research Projects
The relative status of grounds staff in employing organisations
This report examines the relative status of grounds staff by examining views of the organisations within which grounds maintenance takes place. It was commissioned by the Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) via the 2012 Fund and was undertaken by the Sport Industry Research Centre (SIRC) at Sheffield Hallam University. The research is complementary to the findings of previous research which identified a potential ‘skills time bomb’ among sports grounds staff at the beginning of 2008.
The main aim of the study was to identify attitudes of senior management to grounds staff and the perceptions they have of actual and potential skills shortages and skills gaps in the industry. The study also investigated senior management views on the utilisation of grounds staff in the future. The methods employed included an online survey, completed by 124 senior managers, and 20 semi-structured interviews with both grounds managers and senior managers within the industry. The full results of this research are available to download here.
Flood-damaged pitches study
One of the first projects to be funded by the 2012 Fund was a joint collaboration with Cranfield University to investigate playing surfaces affected by the floods of early 2008. Please find the results of the research here.
IOG industry research
This project was carried out in order to understand the size and profile of our industry.
It concludes that the industry:
• Does not currently attract females, less than half of 1%
• Is largely staffed by older males, typically aged 40-49 years, who have been in post for several years, and who are largely satisfied in their job
• Has very limited career progression or movement
• Is poorly paid; salaries are low in comparison to other industries and the average wage for the UK
• Does not rank highly with most employers. Less than half of those surveyed felt that their employer has a very good understanding of the skills required by their job. Some employers were similarly dismissive of the profession
• Does not get a priority in terms of training from employers. 40% of those surveyed feel that they would benefit from additional training and 40% of those surveyed had not had any training during the past 12 months, a cause for concern given the nature of the industry and rapidly developing technology and regulation
• Does not necessarily appeal to younger people largely due to salary and potential training and progression issues.
• One third of those surveyed, most notably younger people, were less than satisfied with their current position and employers noted that they could not recruit young people with the right qualifications
• Does not appeal as a career choice at present. Of those surveyed the majority move into the industry via ‘indirect’ entry routes (e.g. the influence of family/friends, by accident, love of outdoors etc.)
• Only attracts a limited number of professionals who make a definite career choice, currently just under 10%.
To read the full report please access here.
Maintaining synthetic turf – sand-filled systems
This research was carried out by Dr Iain James and Dr Andy McLeod at the Centre for Sports Surface Technology, Cranfield University.
In 2003, Cranfield University began a 4-year doctorate research programme to develop a set of guidelines for maintaining synthetic turf.
The project, funded by the Institute of Groundsmanship and the UK Government’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (www.epsrc.ac.uk), had the task of creating a new set of guidelines to help support the IOG’s membership in the maintenance of synthetic turf – a set of guidelines based on a body of evidence.
Following completion of that research, Cranfield University has prepared this document in conjunction with the Institute of Groundsmanship – aimed at groundstaff and facilities managers alike.
Starting from scratch as far as scientifically researched information was concerned, the study had to focus on one particular system of synthetic turf pitch. This has raised the question ‘Why focus on 2G, when 3G is the new standard for pitches?’
This was answered at the 2008 IOG Conference in Liverpool when delegates were asked ‘Do you maintain synthetic turf?’ 90% of the audience responded yes. Of that 90%, 90% were looking after 2G pitches. The methods here are easily transferred to filled 3G surfaces, and when they have been researched in detail we shall publish a second set of recommendations for 3G turf.
To read the full guidelines obtained as a result of this research, please access them here.