Rolawn addresses industry skills gap with hands-on TASK Academy courses

Rolawn, the UK’s market-leading supplier of turf and topsoil has embarked on a forward-looking new partnership with independent land-based training provider, TASK Academy, to deliver specialist, hands-on courses for those in the landscaping and horticulture industries.

TASK Academy was launched in September 2022 by Rupert Keys (Keyscape Design & Construction Ltd), who has over 30 years’ experience in horticulture, and was set up with the intention of providing practical landscaping courses, delivered by a carefully selected team of inspiring industry professionals.

Man laying turf

Rupert, who has a long-established relationship with Rolawn, selected the Yorkshire-based turf grower and landscaping supplier as an industry partner for TASK Academy due to a shared vision; both organisations being driven by a passion for the industry and a desire to have an active role in securing its future.

Keen to address recognised industry skills gaps, each course is designed and delivered by seasoned experts to ensure students receive the best possible learning experience. Rolawn’s Sales Director, Jonathan Hill, has already delivered a series of courses at TASK’s headquarters in Pershore, Worcestershire, including a recent ‘how to lay a lawn’ course, with the aim of transferring valuable skills and knowledge acquired over his 20 year career in the industry.

Knowing all too well the challenges the industry face around quality of staffing and training, a range of specific one-day courses have been designed to address the challenges, including the workshop recently run by Rolawn’s Landscaping Sales Manager, Nick Milson, who has a breadth of experience in the turf industry. The topics Nick covered included ground preparation, selecting the right turf, laying, cutting and finishing and how to manage customers and provide the best advice to clients.   

Rolawn’s Jonathan Hill said “This is a fabulous opportunity for Rolawn and we are grateful to Rupert and the TASK Academy team for the chance to be able to demonstrate and hand down the specific skills and knowledge we have gained over the years. TASK very much fits with the forward-thinking vision of Rolawn and the attention to detail we pride ourselves on. We’re looking forward to collaborating with the academy more this year, as we all work together towards a stronger, brighter future for the industry and the professionals within it.”

A student on the course commented, “The Rolawn course at TASK was excellent, I particularly enjoyed the fact that it was predominantly practical orientated and throughout the course I was able to ask so many questions and discuss and pull out the learning. The training was superb – the trainers were very supportive and willing to unpick the problems and hurdles we face, so we felt knowledgeable and reassured”.

To provide valuable training in areas identified as lacking in the sector, the link between TASK Academy and Rolawn, as well as associations with other industry partners, is already seeing positive results and students enrolling in TASK’s courses are benefiting from experienced voices in the industry who are being given the platform to pass on valuable skills and expertise.