An award-winning apprentice and rising AFLW star, Eden Zanker says her course in sports turf management is giving her skills in an industry she loves – and providing a pathway to a career as a groundsperson at a major sporting facility.
“I have a farming background and a lot of the tasks I've done on the farm; I've been able to transfer into turf management,” says Eden.
“It’s been very beneficial for me to be able to transfer skills and knowledge from my studies into my role at work.”
Eden is an apprentice at Cranbourne Turf Club in Melbourne’s South East while she completes the AHC31319 Certificate III in Sports Turf Management.
During her training, she's been rewarded for her efforts and commitment with several Holmesglen and Sports Turf Association apprenticeship awards.
Eden says learning at Holmesglen’s dedicated horticulture facilities at Glen Waverley has helped her develop a great work ethic and good relationships with other apprentices, her teachers and across the industry.
What does a sports turf groundsperson do?
A groundsperson looks after various sporting surfaces, including football ovals, racecourses, golf greens, and more.
They also work with irrigation systems, pest control chemicals and complete day-to-day tasks using land-forming machinery, such as a skid steer loader.
Eden’s sports turf management apprenticeship has given her experience in many different job roles and responsibilities.
“My current role requires me to assist with the maintenance of tracks and facilities, particularly relating to the Cranbourne Racecourse.
“A day in the life for me not only involves maintenance of turf and mowing, but also assisting with developing work programs across various sites.
“I’m currently also the health and safety representative, so ensuring everyone is safe in and around the workplace is paramount for me.”
What skills are required for sports turf management?
At Holmesglen, apprentices learn important skills related to recreational turf, facilities and playing surfaces.
The course equips then to go on to work at a range of sporting facilities, from community level grounds right through to professional multi-purpose arenas, which are common in Australia.
Sports turf professionals use technical skills and practices to maintain these surfaces, ensuring a high quality and safe experience for clubs, players, spectators and other participants.
Holmesglen apprentices gain hands-on experience in maintenance and preparation, and study units that cover turf irrigation and pest and disease control.
“I have established foundational skills and knowledge throughout my time at Holmesglen. Everything we have been learning, I’ve been able to implement into my everyday work life, which has been invaluable,” says Eden.
Eden maintains a healthy work/life balance and studies the sports turf management apprenticeship part-time.
This flexibility gives Eden time to play for Melbourne Football Club’s AFLW team and, as a professional athlete, she knows exactly what is needed in an ideal playing surface.
“My apprenticeship has helped me maintain a sound routine. To have an apprenticeship provider and workplace that are flexible is a significant bonus.
“All teachers and mentors have provided a great environment to learn and grow, while also providing the support and development that has been instrumental in me juggling my studies, full-time work and AFLW.”
Eden’s advice for sports turf apprentices
“I would encourage anyone considering this apprenticeship to be open to exploring a variety of turf disciplines. There’s the opportunity to dive into golf courses, ovals, footy fields and more, and the industry has so much to give if you have the passion for it.”
Find out more about our sports turf management apprenticeship and how to apply.