13 Jan 2017

Manchester City FC’s Katie Croft Top Of The League For Sports Turf Excellence

Toro and its UK distributor Reesink Turfcare sponsors the Most Promising Sports Turf Student of the Year Award at the annual Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) Awards to find talent just like the 2016 winner, Katie Croft.

Katie is a driven, hard-working and talented addition to the grounds industry and since she joined Manchester City Football Club two years ago she has paved the way for other women in the industry.

Lee Metcalfe, head groundsperson at Manchester City who recruited Katie, says: “In her first interview Katie showed promising signs of being a successful apprentice. The competition was tough, with over 200 people applying for the job, but her desire to learn was evident and her bubbly character a welcome addition to the team.

“She was the first female grounds person we have taken on, and we are one of the first football clubs in the country to have employed a female in the role, but she has paved the way and because of her success we have employed another female apprentice, Tara Massey, a year ago.”

Katie says it is this trail-blazing that she would like to use her award to do more of; by making a difference by encouraging those girls who, like her, know they want to work in horticulture, that there are plenty of options. “I am so honoured to have won this award and am blown away that I was found deserving of it. Two years ago I had a dream and it has come true. I’d really like to be able to use this position to educate more women about what a career in groundsmanship entails. It’s an exciting time and there are some fantastic opportunities out there for anyone with an interest in horticulture.”
Concluding a successful two-year apprenticeship at Manchester City FC, while also studying at Myerscough College Preston, Katie has won the award, graduated and been made assistant grounds person at one of the best football clubs in the world all within a matter of months.

“When I applied for the apprenticeship at Manchester City I had no idea that it would lead to this,” she says. “I have had the huge benefit of working at a club that really invests in young talent. The training and support system I’ve been offered by everyone in the team could not have been better. Lee took a chance on me and I am so glad I’ve been able to prove my worth.”

Lee continues: “Katie winning the award is of course fantastic for her personally and her career, but it is also fantastic for the club and the team who have invested in training her. We have a strong and supportive team here and these accolades benefit everyone who has invested time in their fellow colleague’s career development.”

Marketing manager at Reesink Turfcare, Holly Jones, says: “Engaging with a wide sector of young people in the grounds industry, supporting and promoting their talents and watching them progress, is an important role for us and sponsoring this award demonstrates Toro’s long-term commitment to the development of the industry. This is a wonderful achievement for Katie, but it is just the beginning and we will follow with great interest her career and look forward to letting everyone know what she is getting up to over this all-important year.”

And with Katie already pushing for the start date for her Advanced Apprenticeship, it looks like there will be plenty to keep up with!