SALTEX College Cup 2018

  • Has your college got the knowledge?

    The winning team will not only get their hands on the SALTEX College Cup, but a ‘big’ cheque, cash prize and work experience at a top sports venue. Show your interest - email Dan (

The student-led sports turf challenge

31 October 2018, NEC Birmingham

The SALTEX College Cup, sponsored by Ransomes, is a student-led sports turf challenge - an academic test of turf management knowledge for student competitors who are enrolled at a college on a relevant course of study. Being staged at SALTEX, on 31 October, at the NEC Birmingham, teams of up to four students will embark on a competition consisting of paper-based multiple choice and short answer questions concerning turf management, plus answer questions based on a case study in the form of a presentation. The competition will also include live test samples for the physical identification of threats to turf health. 

“It’s a prize that money can`t buy and something that will live long in the memory.” 
- CAFRE - SALTEX College Cup Winning team, 2016, 2017.

What's the reason? 
It is the taking part that counts – not just the test. Together, the IOG, Ransomes, and industry supporters, are working to raise the awareness of academic rigour in turf management, whilst giving the participants a career enhancing experience. Why? Because education is key to raising the industry’s profile, status and standards. Plus, it’s important to recognise and highlight hard work. SALTEX is an excellent exhibition for people looking to forge a career within groundscare, and the College Cup is a fantastic way to reward those who are dedicated and passionate about the trade.

Who can enter? 
Each team should consist of 4 students, with their College Application Form sent to the IOG by Wednesday 2 May 2018. The students must be studying or have studied in the academic year 2017/2018, or 2018/2019, a course that will allow them to pursue a career in Sportsturf Management being a Level 2-4 (1st year FdSc) UK qualification. In addition, equivalent international qualifications deemed suitable by the IOG. (A U.S. example of this would be a minimum of 1 person from Year 1 of a relevant Associates Degree and a maximum of 1 person from the first year of a relevant Bachelor’s Degree. All other participants must not have studied outside of these levels).

What's in it for me? 
The winning college will not only get their hands on the SALTEX College Cup, but will also receive a generous cheque for £500. In addition, each student within the victorious team will be awarded an Amazon voucher, and work experience at a top world stadia, plus more. The intention is for the participants to enjoy their day as much as possible, whilst still testing their knowledge. It is free for the colleges to participate. Competitors will also be issued with free food vouchers to use within the SALTEX halls for breakfast and lunch. 

If, as a tutor you feel you have a team of students that would like to take part please register your college before Wednesday 2 May 2018. Email Dan (

After winning the SALTEX College Cup for the second year running, students from CAFRE College in Antrim, Northern Ireland, enjoyed an unforgettable experience of helping with pitch preparations at the 2018 Six Nations Championships at BT Murrayfield Stadium.

The SALTEX College Cup, sponsored by Ransomes, and organised by the Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG), is a national student-led sports-turf challenge. It is an academic test of turf management knowledge for student competitors who are enrolled at colleges throughout the UK on relevant courses of study. Launched at the show in 2016, CAFRE was the first college to have its name engraved on the trophy and as part of the prize, the winning students were part of the Wembley grounds team at the 2017 FA Cup Final.

CAFRE returned to SALTEX 2017 where they saw off competition from four other colleges to reclaim the trophy. As well as receiving a £500 cheque and £50 Amazon vouchers for each student, the CAFRE team was presented with another prize that money can’t buy – preparing the pitch at the 2018 Six Nations Championships for the Scotland vs England game.

The CAFRE team arrived at BT Murrayfield on the Friday afternoon before Saturday’s match and were soon mowing the pitch - firmly cementing the students’ names on the very small and exclusive list of people to have cut the BT Murrayfield pitch.

After a 7am start on the big day, the CAFRE team were part of the busy yet meticulously planned pitch preparations, and it would not be long before their work would be broadcasted to millions worldwide.

Commenting on the day, CAFRE student Matthew Barr said: “I found the whole experience incredible and one that I will never forget. I also learnt a lot of new techniques that I will be able to implement in my own work.

“My personal highlights of the weekend were being part of the grounds team and watching Scotland beat England for the first time in 10 years – the atmosphere was fantastic! Everyone was so welcoming and friendly.”

Alex Latto, assistant head groundsman at BT Murrayfield, was delighted to have the CAFRE students working alongside him: “Hosting the winners of the SALTEX College Cup was something we were really keen to do. Having the opportunity to help develop further some of the most promising students the turf care industry has to offer was a great experience for us.

"The lads demonstrated good knowledge and practical experience and were willing to muck in with the unglamorous jobs associated with event set up. They left us with the assurance that they’d had an educational and enjoyable experience and we enjoyed working alongside them.”

Dan Prest, the IOG’s head of membership services, felt honoured to see such a finely tuned grounds team at work and was quick to thank everyone involved.

“I was amazed by the willingness of the BT Murrayfield grounds team to be here, there and everywhere for the greater good. It really was a case of all hands to the pump but they still gave the CAFRE students the best possible experience.

“Many thanks to Ransomes for their continuing support of this competition, Garry Blackadder, Jim Dawson, Alex Latto and  Joanne Laing at BT Murrayfield for their support, work ethic and good nature in allowing the winners of the SALTEX College Cup to assist in a Six Nations’ match that will go down in history.”

All colleges interested in participating in the 2018 SALTEX College Cup should email Dan Prest at for more details.

The Ransomes brand has been a constant in the turfcare sector since 1832, when the world’s first lawn mower, designed by Edwin Budding, was built at the Ipswich plant. Today, it is the leading brand for mowing grass in the municipal and landscape contracting sectors in the UK. The brand is internationally recognised and Ransomes equipment maintains the turf in many royal palaces, public gardens and major sporting stadia around the world.

 “We are delighted to be sponsoring the inaugural SALTEX College Cup. As a company, we are always looking for opportunities to support different initiatives and we believe that investing in education and professional development is essential to the future of the turf industry. SALTEX is an excellent exhibition for people looking to forge a career within groundscare, and the introduction of the College Cup will be a fantastic way to reward those who are passionate about the trade.” - Karen Proctor, Ransomes Marketing and Communications Manager

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