14 May 2024

Adam's kicking goals in an industry where workers are in high demand

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Adam McNeill standing in a stadium.

Formerly from the Illawarra, Adam McNeill is now a senior groundsperson at Queensland Country Bank Stadium. Photo: TAFE NSW.

Adam McNeill’s work is seen by thousands of football fans and concert goers but they will probably never see him or even know his name.

The former Illawarra resident is a senior groundsperson at Townsville’s Queensland Country Bank Stadium.

In his role, he’s prepared the venue for everything from the Cowboys rugby league matches and the 2021 State of Origin game to this year’s Pink concert.

Adam studied horticulture and as an apprentice worked at the Sydney Cricket Ground and Sydney Football Stadium, before returning to the South Coast to work for local councils.

“I then followed my mentor Bruce Fouracre up to Townsville to work at the city’s old 1300SMILES Stadium, before transitioning to the new Queensland Country Bank Stadium and have had amazing experiences,” he said.

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But 20 years later, he realised he needed further qualifications if he wanted to develop his greenkeeping career and move into managerial positions.

He decided to return to study while in Victoria, but COVID-19 interrupted his plans and he eventually completed his Diploma in Sports Turf Management with TAFE NSW.

Head Teacher of Sports Turf Management at TAFE NSW Ian Clarke said the organisation was delivering skilled groundspeople to the industry, which is set to grow by 1400 jobs by 2026.

“Through the Diploma of Sports Turf Management program, we ensure our students are equipped with the practical skills and theoretical knowledge they need to get the job they want – whether that be at a local golf course, or at top-level venues like Queensland Country Bank Stadium,” Ian said.

Adam said his studies had helped boost his contribution to the success of the world-class stadium.

“I’m now taking on more responsibility, I’ve enhanced my time management skills and now have deeper insights into the managerial duties that are required to effectively coordinate the care of the arena surface at a major stadium.” he said.

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He strongly encourages others to follow in his footsteps and study sports turf management to meet the industry’s demand for workers.

“It is a fascinating career and I find it rewarding and satisfying,” he said.

“Turf is a living organism, and we keep asking so much of it; but when you can walk away and look at the product we’ve produced for an event, whether that be an NRL game or a concert, that’s when you get that sense of achievement.

“I feel incredibly fortunate to work in a new, major stadium. There are only a handful of venues of this calibre in Australia, so I take very seriously the responsibility of creating a product that’ll be viewed by thousands of people.”

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