For International Women's Day we asked questions to a lot of women who work in the groundskeeping or gardening industry about their work. This time it's Jackie Evans from Wellington College. Jackie is the Deputy Head of Grounds at Wellington College. She has just completed the IOG Level 3 Technical Diploma in Turf Surface Management. Well done JACKIE!
How long have you been working in this industry?
22 years full time.
What does the average day look like for you?
As a Deputy my day starts with organising the team and giving them jobs/tasks to complete.
I will then complete any admin eg collating cricket fixtures, pitch/match requests for the week or staff rotas.
We currently have an apprentice so I spend time supervising and teaching him a variety of things from training on various bits of kit to pitch preparation.
This time of year I would normally be pre season rolling on our 1st X1 cricket square as it is my job to maintain that to County standard.
If I’m not working on the cricket square then I could be Verti-draining our winter pitches, preparing pitches for matches or even machinery maintenance.
What would you say is the biggest challenge working in this industry/Have you faced any challenges being a female in a male dominated environment?
When I first started it did feel a little intimidating being a young female in a male dominated industry and over the years i have faced criticism for being the bosses daughter! When I first took the role of Deputy there were times when certain older male members of the team didn’t like taking orders from a young female. Despite all this I continued to work hard, continued learning and achieving my goals.
Why did you choose to work in this industry?
My father is Head of Grounds here at Wellington college and at the age of 14 and whilst at school i would work on the grounds during the holidays to earn a little pocket money. When it came to leaving school I had no idea what I wanted to do although I knew I loved being outside!
A job vacancy came up at Wellington and I decided to give it a go. I knew the Grounds and what was required and I enjoyed the work. I studied for 2 years to achieve my NVQ Level 2 and have progressed from there.
After about 5 years I was promoted to Deputy and since then have completed my IOG Level 3 Technical Diploma.
What advice would you give to women wanting to join the industry?
Do it! If you love physical work, sport and being outdoors then this is definitely a role to consider. It is a shame that there are not more females in the industry.
Finally, what is the best part about working in this industry?
Other than working outside I would say that the best thing about my role in this industry is the variety of sports that I prepare pitches for. At Wellington we have cricket, football, rugby, tennis, hockey, lacrosse, athletics, rounders and netball. Plenty to keep us busy!
Over the years I have developed a passion for preparing cricket pitches, I started off maintaining our yearlings squares and have worked my way up the ladder attending the IOG levels 1-3 in cricket preparation and I am now in sole charge of our 1st X1 cricket square. I love every second of it!
Find Jackie on TWITTER