Groundspeople look after sports and recreation grounds, including football, rugby and cricket pitches, tennis courts, golf courses and bowling greens. They keep the soil, grass and turf in good condition. They are also known as greenkeepers or sportsturf managers.
You could be:
cutting grass with a mower and using a range of other tools, both powered and manual
watering or fertilising grass, removing weeds or reseeding damaged patches
maintaining and repairing grounds made of artificial materials
marking out lines on playing fields and courts
setting up equipment such as nets and posts
installing and removing weatherproof covers
looking after borders, hedges and flowerbeds in the grounds
repairing walls and paths or digging ditches to drain water
ensuring that playing surfaces meet the regulations of the relevant sporting body.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
where you work
the size of company or organisation you work for
the demand for the job.
The starting salary is often based on the National Minimum Wage (NMW).
As of 1 April 2020 the National Minimum Wage is £4.55 an hour for workers aged 16 to 17, £6.45 an hour for workers aged 18 to 20 and £8.20 an hour for workers aged 21 to 24. The National Living Wage is £8.72 for workers aged 25 and over.
The Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) recommends the following payscales (2019):
junior groundsperson (aged 16) – £13,208 a year
junior groundsperson (aged 17) – £15,905 a year
groundsperson – £18,706 to £23,863 a year
skilled groundsperson – £23,348 to £29,785 a year
deputy head groundsperson – £24,967 to £31,865 a year
head groundsperson – £30,517 to £41,885 a year
grounds manager – £34,782 to £55,431 a year.
You could work for a sports club, a local council recreation department, a school, college or university, private estates or a landscape contractor.
You might be based at one site or working over several different sites.
You would work alone or in a small team, depending on where you work.
You would have to work outdoors in all weathers.
You would have to wear protective clothing in wet weather and when using fertilisers and pesticides.
Your hours could be long, including early mornings, evenings or weekends, especially if you are making grounds ready for events.
A good general education is useful, and some employers may look for some subjects at National 4 or 5.
You may get in through a Horticulture (Sports Turf) Modern Apprenticeship which will normally lead to Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs) at SCQF Levels 5 and 6.
You could take a full time course leading to a National Certificate (NC), National Qualification (NQ) or SVQ in a relevant subject before applying for a job. For example, an NC in Horticulture or Greenkeeping.
Entry requirements for these courses vary from no formal qualifications up to 4-5 subjects at National 4 or 5.
Previous work experience on a sports ground is helpful.
You must be fit, as you will be active all day.
A driving licence is useful, and for some posts, essential.