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Interviews

INTERVIEW: Sky Blues Head of Grounds talks about new apprentice role and working alongside Arena

23 December 2021

Coventry City are recruiting for a new of Apprentice Junior Grounds Person, based at the Coventry Building Society Arena, and Sky Blues Grounds Manager Colin Wilson explained the new position.

The role will give the apprentice a broad range of skills and exposure, working at the Arena on a daily basis including on matchdays.

You can see the advert for the job here.

Colin said:

“This new apprentice role will be based at the Coventry Building Society Arena. Under the watchful eye of us at Coventry City, they will be learning their trade with the staff at the stadium. They will learn about preparation for football and rugby, which will give them a nice rounded early education in being a grounds person.”

“It’s a great opportunity for a young person to get experience and knowledge in an industry which is becoming ever more popular, and across a range of areas – especially with the Arena being used both for football and rugby.

“This is potentially a very exciting opportunity for a young individual to come into the industry,” said Colin.

“They will get the chance to work at the CBS Arena, which has a fantastic grounds team alongside Paul Currier, who is the head groundsman there.

“They will really get a great insight into the industry and use a wide variety of skills and equipment too.”

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Sky Blues fans and Wasps fans see the work of the grounds team each matchday, which Colin said brings some added pressures compared to working on the pitch at the training ground – which, while used more regularly, is rarely seen by supporters.

“The grounds team based at the stadium have their work seen by supporters each week and the matchdays are the focus for everyone each week, so there is an added pressure to the work but at the same time a lot of pride and recognition for the work that they do.”

The apprentice route is one that Colin himself used to get into the industry, helping the lifelong Sky Blues fan on his path to being in charge of City’s ground department, responsible for the upkeep of the pitches at Ryton and the Alan Higgs Centre.

Colin explained:

“I saw an apprenticeship advertised in a local newspaper for a role as apprentice green keeper at Kenilworth Golf Club and that’s where my journey started. I did three years apprenticeship there, working with local colleges, and worked for 10 years there. I worked my way up to deputy and from that went on to manage other local courses and have other roles, including at Warwick Castle, before coming to Coventry City nearly 4 years ago.”

The new apprentice role sees the Sky Blues and Wasps working closely together as the relationship between the two clubs continues to grow, and Colin revealed that he is in regular contact with his counterpart at the Arena.

“It’s a sign of the closer relationship that we are developing with our counterparts at Wasps, which is important,” said Colin.

“We’ve had two of our own apprentices go in there recently and have an experience of working in the stadium, but now we’re dedicating an apprentice to the stadium and working alongside Wasps and getting a fantastic experience and exposure.

“I’m in touch with Paul at the stadium once a week to discuss the pitches at the stadium and at the training ground, and making sure we’re both working closely together to create the best pitches we can for the Manager and for the players.”


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