IRB One Turf Conference, Dublin

Excellent conference held by IRB in Dublin yesterday regarding exploring the options for a One Turf concept for artificial turf. Brining experts, manufacturers and NGB's together, the concept is to create a standard which will allow many sports to be played on one turf system with one applicable specification. There was an excellent international speaker list and papers presented see day 1 programme attached, the morning sessions explored the rationale and objectives for creating a One Turf standard.

Afternoon sessions included exploring the similarities/differences in current specifications, footwear issues and testing, exploring the shoe surface interaction, injury data on artificial turf, and then proposals for developing a common standard.

This might be the first steps in possibly streamlining the proliferation of standards which exist at the moment.

FA Cup; Artificial pitches given go-ahead

. This season will see artificial pitches allowed in all FA competitions for the first time. The 2012-13 season will see artificial pitches allowed in all competitions run by The Football Association for the very first time.

The new ruling, passed by The FA Cup Committee on Thursday, means that artificial pitches will make their debut in The FA Cup with Budweiser from August and will be allowed up to and including the Fourth Qualifying Round of the competition, providing they are registered with The Football Association.

The FA’s Competition’s Manager, Steve Clark, explained the pitch protocol for clubs playing beyond the Fourth Qualifying Round of The FA Cup: “In the Competition Proper, all ties must be played on natural grass pitches.

“If any club with an artificial pitch reaches the First Round Proper and is drawn at home, then they will need to switch to a ground of a club who are both an FA Cup entrant and have a natural grass pitch,” added Clark.

Other FA competitions to allow artificial pitches are The FA Carlsberg Trophy, FA Carlsberg Vase, Sunday Cup, Women’s FA Cup, County Youth Cup and the Qualifying Rounds of The FA Youth Cup.

New qualifications in installation techniques for artificial turf announced

Sport and Play Construction Association announced yesterday that NVQ level three qualifications shall be available for front line skills. Actual turf installation, shock pads, polymeric surfaces, play surfaces and equipment, base construction. This is a significant move forward for the UK sports and play construction sector and provides a platform for improving skills for those coming into the industry. Improving skills = better quality pitches, tracks and play surfaces this is the bottom line. See article attached.

National Vocational Qualifications

New EdExcel Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Sport and Play Surfaces (QCF) As you will be aware, a partnership was initiated by SAPCA with SkillsActive, EdExcel and South Birmingham College to develop a National Occupational Standard for the installation and maintenance of sports and play surfaces in the UK. NVQ (QCF) qualifications are competence based qualifications based on national standards of competence that recognise and judge ability and level of competence to perform the range of tasks associated with a specific trade. The NVQ is delivered by South Birmingham College with workplace examinations assessing the candidate's skill level and on-site competence. Since the launch of the Level 2 NVQ Certificate in Sport and Play Surfaces in October 2008, over 300 candidates from the industry have taken the operational qualification. Enrolment is now underway for 2012-13 for both Level 2 and newly launched operational and supervisory NVQ Level 3. As well as providing some fundamental management units, the level 3 qualification will focus on the specialist skills that are essential to the sports and play surfacing industry, such as installation of synthetic turf, polymeric and acrylic surfaces. It is designed to assist those working in the sports surfaces installation industry to progress to a more advanced skill and/or supervisory management level. Candidates who complete the apprenticeship programme will produce evidence of their work in as a portfolio and spend 4 weeks over a single year in the lecture room at South Birmingham College completing the foundation knowledge. Whatever the context the candidates is working in, it is essential that their work evidence comes from real on site working, with real equipment, services and customers, as part of temporary or permanent employment. During the level 3 course of the academic year candidates must complete 5 mandatory units in group A and at least two units from Group B1, with the remaining credit from optional B1 and/or B2 below:- Group A Plan, allocate and monitor the work of the team Set objectives and provide support for team members Ensure health and safety requirements are met in own area of responsibility Resolve customer service problems Complete sport/play surface work for handover Group B 1 Install Artificial grass surface for sport an play Install polymeric surface for sport and play Install acrylic surface for sport and play Install prefabricated textile and non-textile resilient surface for sport and play Install indoor polymeric surface for sport and play Group B2 Inspect and assess sport and play sites, surfaces, equipment and perimeters Install subfloor undercarriage system for indoor sport and play surfaces Prepare for and install base layers for sport/play surfaces Assemble and install purpose-made equipment and components for sport/play Provide leadership in own area of responsibility Manage own professional development within an organisation

Government contributions to NVQ courses vary considerably with the age and circumstances of the applicant, however it has been confirmed that this year’s intake on to NVQ 2 and NVQ 3 aged 24+ will be co-funded. For details on funding please contact South Birmingham College on 0121 694 5000 or . For questions about the course contact Head Lecturer Keith Selvey