The Harefield Academy in Uxbridge, Middlesex has won the IOG Ransomes Jacobsen Innovation of the Year accolade at the Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) Industry Awards in a glittering Oscar-style ceremony at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena, hosted by BBC TV and radio presenter Mark Clemmit.
The award was presented to Harefield’s course leader, Louise Dunton, by Sam Cassidy from category sponsor Ransomes Jacobsen, in front of an audience of 350 of the UK’s and Europe’s leading groundscare experts, as well as dignitaries from the governing bodies of sport and influential sports administrators.
By creating purpose-built teaching areas for horticulture and groundsmanship, the ambition at The Harefield Academy is to establish a school-based vocational course that encourages young people disaffected by school to enter a career in the industry. The aim is to improve the employability of young people.
With allotment plots, a turf area, a poly tunnel and using a wide selection of tools and equipment at the Northwood Way site, the outside facilities have all been constructed by the students and are maintained by them.
The project is achieving its initial objective to stimulate young people and giving them a new career option, and the plan now is to encourage other schools to follow suit.
The prestigious UK-wide IOG Award scheme highlights the high standards of volunteer and professional grounds professionals and facilities, from grass roots to professional stadia level. Embracing categories of entry covering sport, young people and the environment, the awards are judged by an independent panel on criteria that include effective use of resources, budgetary control, presentation and housekeeping standards, as well as environmental considerations.
The Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) www.iog.org
Ransomes Jacobsen www.ransomesjacobsen.com