Jacobsen’s Alan Prickett, Managing Director of the Asia Pacific region and Gina Putnam, the International Marketing Manager recently made the trip Down Under to acknowledge an exciting new partnership with NMIT.
Jacobsen, through their Victorian dealer Godings, have recently committed to a three-year agreement to provide NMIT with new equipment for use on the five golf courses the institute manages, and for classroom technical training.
As well as this, they have generously set up an annual scholarship for one lucky student, which will allow them to travel to America to take part in the esteemed Future Turf Managers Program.
Alan Prickett says that Jacobsen is highly committed to training and education all around the world.
“We do put a lot of time, effort and money into training initiatives all over the world and when I began looking after Asia Pacific, one of the things I wanted to roll out were the education programs we have been running in Europe and the States.
“College support programs are a classic win-win situation. They assist the colleges operationally but are also good for both our brand exposure and in allowing student greenkeepers to operate our state of the art mowers, getting comfortable on them while they’re at college.
“We obviously hope that this early exposure to Jacobsen products will give a positive impression that will stay with them through their careers.
NMIT currently look after five golf courses around Victoria and are working on getting a sixth up and running.
They were keen to strike up a relationship with Jacobsen for a number of reasons, a key one being their Future Turf Managers Program, which has been running for about seven years under Gina Putnam.
“As Alan said, education is a huge part of our ethos,” says Gina.
“The industry supports us by purchasing equipment and investing in our company, so training, especially developing the Future Turf Managers Program (FTMP) allows us to give back.”
The NMIT Jacobsen scholarship recipient will be given an opportunity to travel to Charlotte, North Carolina where Jacobsen is headquartered and will attend the FTMP.
The FTMP is less about agronomic knowledge and more about the students’ professional development.
Gina says that the program is about helping students meet a network of peers, just like them, who want to get a leg up and progress their career in the industry.
“It is fantastic for networking and mentoring because we use well-established course managers in the industry to help mentor the students, to teach them by their own previous experiences and by case study.
“They also learn skills that they may not be getting at a horticultural based education college, they’re getting presentation skills, communication skills and learning to deal with difficult situations in a clubhouse or a membership situation.”
The 2014 FTMP is the first time an Australian student has been included in the initiative.
Melissa Giffard is the associate director for the faculty of earth sciences at NMIT.
“From our perspective, it is a fantastic opportunity for our students to get experience and exposure to industry, cutting edge equipment.
“Also, the opportunity to travel to America and undertake some training and gain some experience at different locations around America.
“You can’t buy that sort of opportunity. For us, we are rapt because it just value adds to the students training.”
Brian Parr, the head consultant in the business activities unit at NMIT, was the one who initially negotiated the partnership with Jacobsen.
“I made the approach to Jacobsen directly, through the Melbourne distributor, Godings, who then got me in touch with Alan and luckily he was able to come out and have a meeting with Melissa, myself and Godings.”
Upon learning that NMIT already used their equipment on five courses, Brian says Jacobsen were very keen to expand NMIT’s machinery fleet and thank them for being loyal supporters of their equipment.
“Since the partnership has been finalised the institute has been able to purchase two more machines and along with the scholarship arrangements, Jacobsen have also donated a pedestrian greens mower to us.
“Now the students can get exposure right across a whole broader range of equipment as they do their training.
“And for someone to go through and complete their diploma, win the study tour scholarship, go to America and come back and have all that on their resume, it is going to be hard for anyone to ignore.”
Melissa says that this partnership with Jacobsen is the sort of industry partnership that NMIT pride themselves on.
“If we are going to train our students ready for industry, then we need industry partnering us in that delivery. It is a win/win situation and we are really looking forward to it.”