Apprentice Profile - Kimberley Pearce
From nursing animals to caring for grass.
After a year at college studying to be a veterinary nurse, Kimberley Pearce’s career switch to caring for golf greens instead of sick and injured animals wasn’t a strategically-planned move, as the 26-year-old South Coast apprentice greenkeeper explains to Will Collins.
“At 17 years of age, all I wanted to do was get a job and earn some money, and a friend told me about a vacancy on the grounds care team at the local golf course. I initially didn’t see grounds care as a career, but I began to enjoy it – and I eventually stayed there for four years.
“Then I moved back to Worthing and began searching for similar work locally, but with no vacancies advertised I began ‘phoning all the golf clubs in the ‘phone directory. Worthing Golf Club accepted me on a six-month part-time basis and, once Course Manager George Barr saw what I was doing, he offered me a full-time job.”
That decision – in 2005 – effectively kick-started Kimberley’s formal career in greenkeeping that has been underpinned she says, by a succession of training opportunities that have been fully encouraged and supported by both George Barr and the club’s Deputy Head Greenkeeper, Robert Short.
An NVQ 2 in Amenity Horticulture (Sports Turf Maintenance) was followed by her current NVQ 3 course in the same subject (due to complete this November) and these have been interspersed with formal trainingfor first aid, PAI and PA6 pesticides, rabbit and mole pest control (Kimberley is the club’s qualified pest controller) and chainsaw operation.
Like the NVQ 2, the NVQ 3 qualification is being ‘studied’ at Brinsbury Campus, part of Chichester College which she attends sporadically to complete certain key skills and short course work. Otherwise, much of the study and course work are undertaken either at home or on the golf course. In the same way that Kimberley praises her Worthing colleagues for their encouragement, she says the college team is also very supportive.
“Having some nationally-recognised qualifications and certificates really makes the individual feel worthwhile and in terms of my chainsaw and pest control responsibilities, for example, really gives me a feeling of empowerment,” she adds.
For the future, Kimberley’s ambition is to become a Deputy Greenkeeper – “and with two 18-hole courses here and currently only one Deputy, who knows!”
Kimberley’s NVQ level 3 qualification comprises nine units:
mandatory – are Estimate resources, requirements and programme work; Promote, monitor and maintain health, safety and security; Manage yourself; and Manage information for action; plus
- Units specifically related to the sports turf qualification -
Create grassed and planted areas, Manage sports turf areas, Manage drainage and irrigation systems, Manage planted areas for their amenity value, and Prepare and apply pesticides.