Growing grounds maintenance expertise

SALTEX 2016, taking place on 2-3 November at the NEC, is the must attend event for those working in the groundscare sector. Government Business previews the show

Last year’s SALTEX (Sports, Amenities, Landscaping Trade Exhibition) was an unprecedented success with over 260 exhibitors and 8,714 unique visitors spanning 45 different nations. Building on that success, SALTEX 2016’s improved show features and unrivalled industry support are set to work together to create the most exciting local and central government event to date when the doors open at the NEC, Birmingham on 2-3 November.

With three large halls containing many of the major players from across the industry, SALTEX 2016 is the ideal place to see products and services which could improve the daily operations of local and central government. The exhibition will see a plethora of exhibitors representing the likes of play equipment and services, turf maintenance equipment, fencing and landscaping, sports surface design, research and consultancy, seeds, turf, aggregates and treatments, and facilities services management. Visitors can also expect to see new products being unveiled, new unique services and some exciting guest appearances on the exhibitor stands.

LEARNING LIVE
There will be a number of education opportunities at this year’s SALTEX through LEARNING LIVE – an all-encompassing free to attend education programme designed for all sectors of the industry. Last year saw 1,655 minutes of seminars and LEARNING LIVE 2016 is set to be expanded further with an even more exiting programme featuring a greater depth of content and quality.

In particular, Simon Rose from West Bletchley Council will be revealing how in-house expertise can be used to boost local government purses, Angus Lindsay from the Landscape Group will be looking at how public sector organisations should select and source machinery and Rhoderic Taylor, consultant and fellow of the Arboricultural Association, will be delivering a presentation entitled ‘Trees - from selection to establishment’ in which he will be discussing what to look for when selecting trees based on the nature of the site. Rhoderic’s seminar will also focus on the value of keeping plant records for a variety of purposes including health and safety issues.

The ever popular ‘Amenity Forum Question Time’ will also be returning to SALTEX 2016. Professor John Moverley will be chairing the session, which will see a panel of experts drawn from across the sector responding to audience questions on a range of topics regarding pests and diseases. This year could prove especially interesting with Brexit in mind.

Based on SALTEX 2015 post-show feedback surveys, show organisers have made the decision to bring back outdoor working demonstrations, which will take place on a grass area directly outside the SALTEX halls 6, 7 and 8 and will provide visitors with an opportunity of seeing a number of products in action.

Visitors to the Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) Hub (stand number C180) will receive a unique opportunity to gather one-to-one turf management advice from IOG regional pitch advisors linked to The FA, the ECB, the RFU and Sport England-funded Grounds & Natural Turf Improvement Programme. Their aim is to raise the standards of sports surfaces as well as the understanding of sports turf management practices among grassroots sports clubs.

New features
SALTEX 2016 will see two new unique features called Pathology and Soil Science Live and the SALTEX College Cup. Located in the IOG Hub (stand number C180), Pathology and Soil Science Live will be hosted by renowned turf consultant Alex Vickers and Kate Entwistle, managing director of the Turf Disease Centre. Alex and Kate will be using a microscope to demonstrate what can be seen from a fungal disease and nematode analysis from pre-prepared samples. They will also provide short video clips to show what would be seen under greater magnification.

The SALTEX College Cup, sponsored by Ransomes, is a brand new national student-led sports-turf challenge that will take place on the first fay of SALTEX. It is an academic test of turf management knowledge for student competitors in teams of four who are enrolled at colleges throughout the UK on relevant courses of study. The 2.5-hour competition consists of paper-based multiple choice and short answer questions on turf management plus a case study with a long written answer. The winning college team will not only get their hands on the trophy but will receive a generous cheque from the competition sponsor – Ransomes, a cash prize and the chance to work at a high-profile sports venue on a volunteer basis over the course of one event.

The Rigby Taylor and Top Green-sponsored Young Groundsmen’s Conference, which has been organised by the Institute of Groundsmanship’s Young Board of Directors will also be held in Seminar Theatre 3, and will offer a fantastic opportunity for young people looking to develop a rewarding career in groundsmanship. The Young Board of Directors, along with key industry experts, will be on hand to explore topics such as when is the right time to take on more education, how volunteering can help you stand out from the crowd and advances in turf care technology and how best to use it. It will also be a good opportunity to find out more about grounds management opportunities in different sectors and what they can offer.

Industry Awards
SALTEX will also be combined with the IOG’s annual Industry Awards dinner. Held on the evening of the first day (2 November) at the National Motorcycle Museum, which is near to the NEC, the event will be hosted by talkSPORT Radio’s Mark Saggers.

The Oscar-style presentation ceremony is the UK’s biggest celebration in groundsmanship; with 20 awards up for grabs. After-dinner speaker, Simon Brodkin, aka Lee Nelson, the renowned stand-up comedian and actor, will be entertaining the hundreds of groundscare experts and sports industry dignitaries attending.

The NEC has well connected transport links to the rest of the country – with more than 75 per cent of the UK’s population situated within just three hours from the venue. Plus visitors who decide to travel by Virgin Rail can receive 25 per cent discount on their ticket fare.

Further Information: 

www.iogsaltex.com

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