Simon Hubbard, The PGA’s head of training, explains the changes to the FdSc/DipHE programmes from October 2019.
In mid-2017 KPMG were commissioned to review the PGA Education Programme with the key findings being presented to Members at the Regional Meetings in 2018. The review stated that that the ‘level’ of education was appropriate with the current programme being ‘fit for purpose’. In the run-up to the report a considerable amount of work had already taken place to improve the provision of education and training which focused on the expectations placed on an Assistant during training together with the workload and scheduling of assessments. It was found that we were expecting too much, particularly in the first year from our trainees and that the programme had become a little ‘top-heavy’. For 2017-18 a number of changes had already been introduced which reduced the number of assessments over the course of the programme. Following the KPMG report further changes to the programme were considered with a view to providing additional education pathways to ‘top-up’ existing qualifications, details of this offering will be published in the near future.
When making changes to the training programme it is important to be mindful of the regulations and policies of our education partners together with the Competition and Market Authority (CMA) to which we are answerable. Changes have therefore been introduced to the academic part of the programme from October (2019); with changes being rolled in over the next three years. Current Assistants will continue with their existing programme. We will now offer four modules in each year rather than the current total of sixteen modules. This will help with an Assistant’s workload as well as their work and playing commitments by making the scheduling of assignments more manageable. It will also make the administration of the FdSc and the DipHE programmes more workable because of the closer alignment of the two programmes as well as better facilitating the forthcoming degree ‘top-up’ options.
Examples of changes we have made include the introduction of ‘industry skills’ and ‘workplace’ modules in year one together with the removal of the retailing module; being replaced by a ‘principles of business’ module in year two. The rationale behind this change is that Training Pros had expressed a desire to be more involved in their Assistant’s training and the ‘workplace’ module will require input from the Training Pro. There is recognition of the diversity in the golf industry so rather than focussing on retailing the new ‘principles’ module can relate to whatever line of work the Assistant is involved in. Another example of a module being removed is ‘career development’ in year three as this should not be restricted to people in the third year of the programme and should be available to all Assistants and Members. It is therefore intended to be made available online through the CPD offering.
These changes will take the programme from its current form to one that is better balanced, with consideration for the academic rigor, study workload and employment requirements whilst still maintaining the standards for an individual to become a member of the Association. It will remove the previous expectation that everything has to be covered in the initial education and allow future specialisation through the education pathways that will follow.