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The Venue Management School (VMS) is proudly offered by the Venue Management Association (Asia and Pacific) Limited. Its purpose is to provide a learning platform where students can upgrade their skills and knowledge to industry best-practice. The School also aims to engender the development of peer networks within the industry.

The course provides students with the opportunity of gaining a Diploma qualification and has international associations, having been adapted from the Oglebay, USA (i.e. International Association of Venue Managers VMS) model to suit the local industry. Course instructors are drawn from the ranks of senior venue managers in Australia, New Zealand, North America and Asia. Other instructors are engaged when specialist expertise is required. The school incorporates an instructor exchange program with the IAVM VMS (USA) and is grateful for their professional involvement.

Course notes for each subject are available to students online before the school and these become a valuable workplace reference manual.

In April 2015, the VMA was successful in the creation and approval of the 10569NAT Diploma of Venue Management by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA). The VMA now owns the qualification and administers it in-house.

For further information, go to:

The Graduate Institute (GI) is held at Salt Resort Kingscliff, running concurrently with the Venue Management School (VMS). This training program for venue professionals is considered one of the VMA’s benchmark educational programs, developed specifically for Graduates of the VMS.

The GI is advanced education for venue professionals focusing on leadership, strategic planning, management theory, human resource management, problem solving, and decision making. The goal, to expand an individual’s management techniques, and leadership skills. The GI is more conceptual than VMS, and should be considered ‘the next level’ for Venue Managers.

Course instructors are specialist in their fields, drawn from the ranks of senior venue managers in Australia, North America and Europe. Expertise is also drawn from the GI program in the USA-based School, held each June in Wheeling, West Virginia. The program will run from 2pm Sunday, 8 November, culminating with the Graduation Dinner on Thursday, 12 November.

Attendance at VMS and GI will allow participants to earn credits toward the Certified Facilities Executive (CFE) program.

The VMS School Committee is currently working through the opportunity for students to be issued with an Advanced Diploma of Leadership and Venue Management. Further information will be available in the near future.

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Tim Worton CFE, Dean – Graduate Institute Group Director – Arenas, AEG Ogden Pty Ltd, explained:

The Venue Management Association (VMA) is delighted to formally invite applications to enrol in the Venue Management School’s (VMS) Graduate Institute (GI).

The GI is the ‘next step’ after the VMS and provides a unique educational experience of deep and interactive learning, with the major focus being on leadership. The GI will run in parallel with the VMS – Sunday 8 to Friday 13 November 2015 – and be conducted at Salt Resort Kingscliff.

The GI will consist of 8 sessions of 3 hours and 15 minutes duration each, plus a number of other activities, most of which are run in conjunction with the VMS program. The GI will be limited to 20 students, in order to facilitate the desired learning and networking experience, and so in the highly likely event that more than 20 applications are received, a ballot system will be employed, subsequent to the VMS Committee ensuring that the applicants meet the criteria required (see below).

Our program is modelled on the highly successful GI that the IAVM has been running at Oglebay in Wheeling, West Virginia USA for a number of years. The sessions will be delivered by an outstanding group of venue management industry professionals, and the VMA and VMS Committee is excited to be conducting the GI from 2014 onwards.

So, for young leaders in the making and leaders looking to enhance and fine-tune their leadership skills in the venue management industry, the VMS GI is the program that you should strongly consider embarking upon.  

For further information please visit:

Course Dates: Sunday 8 November – Friday 13 November 2015

  • 5 nights single accommodation at Salt Resort Kingscliff – Each student will be assigned single accommodation at Salt Resort Kingscliff (Check in:  Sunday after 1:00pm – Check out: Friday before 11:00am).  This is included in your application fee.
  • Scheduled transfers to and from Graduate Institute
  • All meals included during Graduate Institute week – 5 Dinners (including Welcome BBQ and Graduation Dinner), 5 breakfasts, 4 morning teas, 4 lunches, 2 afternoon teas.
  • All sessions
  • Assignments and Preparatory Work Papers
  • Instructor Presentations available after Graduate Institute.

For further information, go to:

 Main image: The GI’s instructors.

Year 1 Ungerboeck Bursary Winner

Year 1 Ungerboeck Bursary Winner

Year 2 graduating class.

Year 2 graduating class.

In this special online article, Martin Kaufman, CSFM, Sports Turf Contractor Purgreen LLC (Nashville, Tenn., USA), discusses the vital role a CSFM (Certified Sports Field Manager) plays and explains why education is key.

Managing turfgrass can be a challenging task. How many people know what the transition zone is? Some might think it is a demilitarised zone in Iraq or Korea. Does the general public realise all the possible turf types we may grow across the US? Do they realise what it takes to make turf look green and usable for their purposes? Does the average person even want to learn how to grow grass? A Certified Sports Field Manager (CSFM) is knowledgeable about all of these topics.

If you have struggled with a tax return, own a business or communicate with the administration of your organisation, you may have worked with a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Most of us go through a budget process annually, so we may function in a fiscally responsible manner. A CPA is usually the professional financial advisor that your organisation relies on to help manage your budget. Becoming a CPA requires education, experience and examination. The same is true for becoming a CSFM.

The CSFM certification is a higher level program of education and professionalism in the turfgrass industry, offered by the Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA). According to the STMA, there are currently 193 CSFM’s. To gain certification, there are certain education and experience requirements. Experience can qualify a candidate; however, education alone may not.

Status as a CSFM has laid the groundwork for my success in the sports turf industry. It has taken my career to new heights and provided tangible credibility to my work.

Eligibility into the CSFM program is based on a point system. You may earn points based on your level of education or the degree of education you have obtained, as well as the field of study. For example, a bachelor’s degree in business would earn fewer points than a bachelor’s degree in turf management.

A degree helps earn points for eligibility, but so does experience. You may not become eligible for the exam based on education alone, but you may become qualified based solely on experience.

Eligibility points for experience are similar to points for education; you will earn more points for being the head of your department than you would while occupying a labourer position.

Becoming qualified is the first step. Once that information is compiled and confirmed with STMA headquarters, you may qualify for the exam. An examination may be proctored at a location near you at any time of the year you choose to set up.

The exam is also offered at the annual STMA Conference & Exhibition, which will be held in San Diego in January 2016. The exam itself is composed of four parts: Agronomics, Pest Management, Administration and Sports-Specific Field Management.

Becoming a CSFM requires passion, commitment and professionalism. Sports turf managers are professional and passionate about growing the standards in the turf industry. As a CSFM, there is an extra level of commitment to excellence needed to continue raising the bar for sports fields.

John Torres is the CST in charge of keeping the sports turf in optimum condition at PPL Park.

John Torres is an STMA member and the Sports Turf Manager for PPL Park (pictured above and in the main image) – home of the Philadelphia Union.

About Martin Kaufman

Martin Kaufman

Martin Kaufman is a sports field maintenance professional with 15+ years of industry experience. His professional experience includes: golf course management in the US and Australia, professional football, minor league baseball, university athletic and campus care, as well as K-12 athletic, campus and stormwater management. Kaufman’s widespread knowledge of the sports turf industry makes him a principal authority when managing contracts for outsourcing.