JOBS FOCUS: the life of a groundsperson or greenkeeper

IF YOU are strong, fit and enjoy working outdoors and keeping things nice and tidy, this job might appeal to you.

As a groundsperson or greenkeeper you would look after sports grounds, such as football, cricket and rugby pitches, bowling greens, tennis courts, racecourses and golf courses.

In this job you would need good practical skills to operate machinery. You would also need to be able to understand plans and drawings.

If you have experience in horticulture, you may be able to enter as an unskilled groundsman without relevant qualifications. You may then be able to progress to skilled level by gaining experience and working towards qualifications. Alternatively, you could study a course first, in a subject like horticulture or sports and amenity turf maintenance. You may be able to get into this job through an Apprenticeship scheme.

Your main responsibility would be to manage the soil and grass to make sure the turf is always in top condition. Your duties would typically include:

PREPARING land for turf laying;

APPLYING nutrients;

ROLLING and mowing the turf;

IDENTIFYING and controlling weeds;

SETTING out and marking lines on surfaces;

INSTALLING and maintaining equipment like nets, posts and protective covers;

ENSURING irrigation and drainage systems are maintained;

LOOKING after surrounding areas - decorative displays, concrete or tarmac;

OPERATING equipment like hedge cutters, strimmers and ride-on mowers;

PAINTING, removing rubbish and carrying out general duties;

MAINTAINING good communication with your customers.

Your tasks would vary according to the season and weather conditions.

Usually you would work around 37 hours a week, sometimes including weekends and evenings.

You would spend most of your time outside, and your work would be quite physical. In some jobs you would need to travel around a large site or to several different sites.

Salary scales for this work can be:

•Groundsperson: £14,985 to £18,310 a year

•Skilled groundsperson: £18,700 to £22,850

•Head groundsperson: £24,445 to £31,795.

There may be bonuses and payment for overtime, and accommodation is sometimes provided.

Figures are intended as a guideline only.

If you have experience in horticulture, you could find work as an unskilled groundsperson without relevant qualifications. You may then be able to progress to skilled level by gaining experience and working towards qualifications.

Alternatively, you could start by doing a course that would help you develop the skills needed for the job.