#GroundsWeek: GMA NextGen Inspires Youngsters at Schools into Stadia

Schools into Stadia

It’s #GroundsWeek 2024 and as part of the organisation’s annual awareness campaign, the GMA’s newly refreshed NextGen (previously Young Board of Directors) hosted a Schools into Stadia event at Ashton Gate Stadium in Bristol on Tuesday 19 March.  

The Schools into Stadia programme aims to showcase grounds management as a viable career pathway for young people in education. With support from the GMA, Reesink Turfcare and Bristol Bears Foundation, GMA NextGen member Jack Langley hosted the event which offered youngsters local to Bristol the opportunity to gain valuable experience and provide the group with a deeper understanding of what duties a groundsperson undertakes in their role.  

A group of students were invited along to the home of Bristol City FC and Bristol Bears to take part in theoretical and practical learning. The group was split into two, with one half guided through an interactive theory session which touched on the various forms of grass seed, how it grows, and how to keep it healthy. The other group were taken onto the pitch and given the opportunity to interact with the various pieces of kit, even having a go at line-marking the pitch and deepening their knowledge of various day-to-day tasks a groundsperson undertakes.   

GMA Key Account Manager for football, Tom Rowley, then delivered a careers presentation to the group, highlighting the various pathways into the industry.  

NextGen new recruit Jack Langley, Deputy Head Groundsman at Ashton Gate said: 

Inviting young people along to my place of work to give them a flavour of what a career in grounds can look like has been extremely rewarding, especially as some of the attendees have shown an interest in returning to experience work on a match day.   

Within my new role as part of GMA NextGen, I’m keen to shine a spotlight on the industry and encourage more young people to join.”  

Geoff Webb, Grounds Management Association’s CEO commented: 

The schools into stadia events always inspire. To work with sporting venues such as Ashton Gate and tap into the community schemes that engage young people and bring opportunities to work in sports turf is always rewarding. The insights these days bring puts our sector and profession into focus as a great career option.” 

Following a day of learning, one of the students in attendance said: 

It was so interesting to see what goes on behind the scenes at a large stadium. I enjoyed learning more about the equipment and using the line marking machine.” 

Following another successful School into Stadia event, the GMA NextGen with support from sponsor Reesink Turfcare will continue to raise the profile of the industry and work to inspire young people by hosting more events and activations across the country. 

#GroundsWeek runs from 18 – 24 March 2024. To find out more about the week and how you can support it, visit: thegma.org.uk/groundsweek