Apprenticeships are becoming popular within the turf care sector - among employers as well as anyone who is looking to ‘learn and earn’ within their working environment. This National Apprenticeship Week, we find out about Zeynu Bedru, a Level 2 apprentice at Harrogate RFC.
Zeynu Bedru, Harrogate RFC – Level 2 apprentice
When Zeynu Bedru arrived in the UK in 2015 as an asylum seeker from East Africa, he was just 17 and unable to speak or write English. His foster family supported Harrogate RFU and encouraged him to volunteer his time at the club while he waited for his residency permit and permission to seek paid work. Once his papers came through, the club were so impressed with his aptitude for the job that they took him on part-time and enrolled him onto the Apprentice Level 2 Sports Turf Operative scheme at Askham Bryan College, where course leaders Chris Hunter and Bojan Jovanovic helped him develop his grounds care skills as well as his reading and writing ability.
“I work at the club three weeks and attend college one week a month,” Zeynu explains. “I found working outside very challenging at first because I’m used to a warmer climate, and I struggled with reading and writing English. But Chris and Bojan were a huge help, along with the volunteers that help with the grounds care routines at the club,” he says, adding that he has now developed the skills to direct them on specific grounds work schedules. Zeynu says he really likes his work and he’s enjoyed learning about the grass and seed types, pitch maintenance, looking after the machinery and conducting effective risk assessments. His next step is to enroll on a Level 3 course, which he is keen to do, particularly to better understand soil science and water management, although he says he plans to wait a year so he can focus on improving his language skills first.
Zeynu’s story is featured in February’s edition of our member magazine, Grounds Management. If you would like to read the full feature and receive many other member-only benefits such as discounts on training, you can become a member today by following this link.