Groundsperson Kaimanaaki Papa
Groundspeople are in charge of the turf (grass), tracks and pitches at sports fields, golf courses, public areas, schools and racecourses.
Groundspeople may do some or all of the following:
- mow, irrigate, control disease, weeds and pests, and repair and roll grassed areas
- sow grass seed or lay turf
- operate and maintain irrigation and drainage systems, mowing equipment and machinery
- prepare and mark out sports fields, cricket pitches, tennis courts, golf courses or racetracks
- keep grounds tidy and do maintenance work on fences and buildings
- cultivate and maintain flowers, shrubs and trees
- organise rubbish removal, recycling and composting.
Those in managerial positions may also:
- manage staff and budgets
- keep records for planning and council compliance.
Groundspeople need to be reasonably fit, healthy and strong as the job involves quite a lot of walking.
Useful experience for groundspeople includes:
- an interest in sport
- farming and horticulture work
- work at parks or reserves
- gardening or landscaping work.
Knowledge of the sport you are preparing turf for is useful but not essential.
Groundspeople need to be:
- good team workers
- patient, as mowing large areas is repetitive work
- able to follow instructions.
Those in managerial roles may also need to be good at:
- managing staff
- planning and record-keeping.
Groundspeople need to have:
- an understanding of soil and plant science (agronomy) and care
- knowledge of pest, weed and disease control methods and how to put them into practice safely
- knowledge of climate and weather forecasting
- skill in using and repairing machinery including specialised turf equipment
- knowledge of landscaping techniques.
- usually work regular business hours, but often work weekends during sporting events
- may work at sports fields and pitches, parks, golf courses, schools, turf farms, racecourses, private grounds, or offices
- work in all weather conditions.
A minimum of three years of secondary education is recommended. Useful subjects include maths, science, English, and agriculture and horticulture.
For Year 11 to 13 learners, trades academies and the STAR and Gateway programmes are good ways to gain relevant experience and skills.
These programmes may help you gain an apprenticeship, but do not reduce the amount of time it takes to complete it.
Groundspeople may progress to managerial positions. If they work for a city council, they can move into operation management and could be in charge of up to 40 grounds and the associated budgets.
Groundspeople may specialise in maintaining a specific type of sports ground such as horse-racing tracks or golf courses.
Years Of Training
There are no specific entry qualifications to become a groundsperson. However, completing an apprenticeship and gaining a National Diploma in Sports Turf Management may be useful.
Growsafe courses and certificate allow you to apply pesticides and herbicides.