A Hadlow College apprentice is blazing a trail in the greenkeeping world after becoming the first in the UK to pass – and receive a Distinction grade for - the new End Point Assessment (EPA) Process as part of the 0143 Golf Greenkeeping Standard Apprenticeship.
Thomas Sherreard is based at London Golf Club, a prestigious club situated in Ash, close to Brands Hatch, Kent, which offers two Nicklaus Design championship courses. Both demand an exceptional standard of course maintenance, which the club prides itself on.
The new Level 2 Golf Greenkeeper qualification was launched for enrolments in September 2016, with the new EPA element as a final assessment at the end of the apprenticeship. It takes the form of an exam consisting of an online test, a trainee statement and selected practical tasks, which assesses all requirements of the standard, including skills, knowledge and behaviours.
Thomas took his two-hour online knowledge exam, consisting of multiple choice and short answer questions, in June and achieved a Distinction grade for this element, which contributes to 30% of the overall grade. He then undertook a full day of practical assessments and professional discussions, all selected by an Independent End Point Assessor, with the candidate unaware of what tasks will be chosen until the day. Tom had to demonstrate his skills on a course walk and professional discussion relating to knowledge of soils, plant identification and mowing regimes. Further practical elements included grass identification, tractor driving with preparation of attachments, aerification and use of pedestrian coring equipment for fine turf, as well as changing holes on a golf green. The practical is a rigorous assessment and contributes to 50% of the final grade. Tom completed all these tasks on the final day of his assessment and was proudly awarded a Distinction grade for this category.
Finally, Tom was required to write a short statement, which contributes to 20% of final grade, about his time as an apprentice - reflecting upon the skills he had learnt and knowledge gained through completing his portfolio. Once again, Tom achieved the highest mark available.
Receiving a Distinction grade in all three categories is a pioneering achievement from Tom, and all at Hadlow College are delighted with his success.
Anthony Stockwell, Greenkeeping and Sports Turf Course Manager at Hadlow College, said, “Tom was an outstanding student and truly deserves this accolade. His determination to succeed has been a testament to his attitude and his approach to life. It has been great to see him grow and develop his confidence over the duration of his course - and it will hold him in a fantastic position for the future.”
Tom is part of the team maintaining the London Golf Club’s Jack Nicklaus Signature Heritage course, which played host to the 2008 and 2009 European Open and boasts generous wide fairways, huge USGA greens and breathtaking tee shots. The International course, is one of the finest downland courses in Europe and has played host to the 2018 Staysure PGA Seniors Championship and also the 2014 Volvo World Match Play. Primarily, Tom works on the Heritage course under the management of Golf Course and Estate Manager Lee Sayers and the guidance of Head Greenkeeper Darren Cuddihy. He has regular opportunities to work on the International course and recently was heavily involved in the Staysure PGA Seniors Championship. The tournament was a great opportunity for Tom to test his greenkeeping skills and it was only three days before his End Point Assessment, representing a very busy August for Tom.
Lee Sayers said: “I am really pleased that Tom has achieved a distinction for his level 2 qualification, but not at all surprised, as his organisation and planning, along with his maturity, comes out in his work every day.”
Andy Wight, Independent End Point Assessor, added: “It was great to assess Tom and allow him to show how much he knew and to exhibit the skills he had learned. Tom was a credit to his club and his tutors and fully deserved his grade. Tom has set the bar for those who follow and is proof the new system works well, in that each apprentice will get the grade they deserve.”
Tom’s achievement is not the only ‘UK first’ for Hadlow College, having been the first centre in the UK to be awarded approval to offer the newly developed 0143 Golf Greenkeeping Standard Apprenticeship back in September 2016. It is also widely believed that he is the first land-based apprentice to succeed on the new standard too.
The Greenkeeping Training Committee (GTC), British and International Golf Greenkeeping Association (BIGGA) and City & Guilds have been working tirelessly to make this new qualification a success, with many meeting groups and much standardisation training over the last few years to ensure this qualification represented a fair challenge to all candidates.
About Hadlow Group Apprenticeships
The Hadlow Group Apprenticeships team offer a full recruitment service, supporting employers with pre-screening and shortlisting applicants, advertising vacancies, arranging interviews, assessments and facilitating training. Employers using the Hadlow Group as their training partner will have access to the very best training and state-of-the-art facilities at sites across Kent, including:
• An £85m campus in the centre of Tonbridge
• Brand new, £26m campus in the centre of Ashford
• 1,000 acres of mixed farmland, fisheries and countryside in the heart of Kent
Over the past year, the Hadlow Group’s dedicated and friendly recruitment teams have worked with over 500 employers and helped over 1,000 young people into employment across Kent and the South East. They work closely with businesses and select quality apprenticeships to help businesses grow the staff they need to expand and succeed.
For more information on the apprenticeships offered by The Hadlow Group, contact our Apprenticeships team on 01732 372888, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.hadlow.ac.uk/apprenticeships