8400 Groundskeeper Apprentice


TITLE Groundskeeper Apprentice






The Groundskeeper Apprentice responds to training and practical instruction by learning and demonstrating the ability to perform the essential duties and responsibilities of the Groundskeeper which must be mastered within a specific period, not to exceed one year.  Failure to master the essential duties and responsibilities of the Groundskeeper within the specific time period may result in termination.  During the period of training, the Groundskeeper Apprentice performs semi-skilled groundskeeping under the direct supervision of a groundskeeper or other designated administrator following established procedures and guidelines.  The Groundskeeper Apprentice learns to use electrically powered and gasoline-powered groundskeeping equipment and machines, small hand and power tools or equipment used in installing, maintaining, and renovating grounds and landscaping, irrigation, thoroughfares, and sports fields.  The Groundskeeper Apprentice learns techniques at the semiskilled level for the maintenance, care, and modification of university grounds and landscapes including planting, cultivating, maintaining, and trimming grounds and landscaping.  The Groundskeeper also performs maintenance on groundskeeping equipment and tools and makes minor repairs (within demonstrated capability) as directed.


Education: High school diploma or equivalent is required.  Education or training in Horticulture, Plant Science, or a related field may be given preference.  

Experience: At least one year full-time experience is required in at least one of the following areas: turf care, sports, or athletic field care; irrigation system maintenance or installation; woody plant installation or maintenance; herbaceous plant material installation or maintenance; hardscape maintenance (fences, rock walls, retaining walls, etc); management of pests on turf, ornamental plants or fruits; repair of streets or sidewalks; mechanical maintenance of grounds equipment.  College level coursework in Horticulture, Plant Science or a related field can be substituted for experience.

Skills: Must be able to read, comprehend, and follow instructions sufficiently to understand written work orders and instructions as well as directions for the proper mixture, use and disposal/storage of cleaners, solvents, chemicals, fertilizers and similar products use in groundskeeping.   Must be able to learn and work under direct or indirect supervision while developing skills in the proper operation and maintenance of grounds maintenance tools, equipment, and machinery. The ability to recognize and compare conditions of the grounds to a standard, report discrepancies, and work under supervision to mitigate the discrepancies is required.  The ability to identify and manage cultural and pest problems on turf and ornamental plants is preferred.  The ability to develop knowledge of, respect for, and skills to engage with those of other cultures or backgrounds is required.

Effort: Requires the ability to lift and carry groundskeeping supplies and equipment weighing up to 50 pounds on a frequent basis and up to 100 pounds on an occasional basis, prolonged walking or standing, and frequent bending or stooping, kneeling and reaching daily.  Requires a full range of physical motion in order to operate manual, electrically powered and/or gasoline powered groundskeeping equipment and machines.  Requires the ability to access facilities and areas that may only be accessible by climbing stairs or by climbing ladders to a height of 15 feet (e.g., for tree trimming).  Must be able to move throughout assigned areas, as the work is performed primarily out-of- doors, year-round.  Employees in this job classification (job title) are designated as essential employees and must report to work as scheduled when University offices are closed due to severe weather.   

License: Must have a valid motor vehicle operator’s license.

Other: The scope of the position requires exposure to and use of chemical compounds for application on trees, shrubs, ground cover, flowers, and grasses which may be hazardous and cause injury if specific instructions regarding their mixture, application, use and disposal/storage are not properly followed.  The job requires working outside year-round, sometimes in severe or extreme weather conditions.  Must be available by phone for callbacks in response to severe weather or other circumstances.  Must contribute to the positive atmosphere of the workplace.


1.    MAINTENANCE- Responds to direct supervision by becoming trained, proficient, and self-sufficient in the safe and proper operation of tools, equipment, machinery, and vehicles associated with groundskeeping work.

      1.a.    Ensures that grounds maintenance equipment is operational by performing routine and preventive      maintenance and cleaning of tools, equipment and machines within reasonable capabilities.

     1.b.    Safely operates portable power tools and equipment such as saws, grass trimmers, snow blowers, leaf blowers, sprayers, paint machines and other groundskeeping equipment.   

      1.c.    Wears appropriate safety gear such as goggles, gloves, safety glasses, earplugs or other personal protective equipment.

      1.d.    Properly handles equipment whether storing, transporting, operating, maintaining, adjusting or acting upon it in any other capacity and reports malfunctions promptly.

2.    TURF CARE-Under direct supervision, become trained and proficient in the safe operation, adjustment, and light maintenance of turf care equipment such as walk-behind mowers, riding mowers, edgers, spreaders, blowers, string trimmers, etc.   

      2.a.    Safely and properly uses hand tools such as rakes, shovels, hoes, blowers, brooms, etc.

      2.b.    Assists by gathering tools, equipment, fuel, etc. and returning each to designated location.

     2.c.    Learns the proficient performance of tasks common to the care of turf such as mowing, seeding, trimming, edging, watering, aerating, fertilizing, controlling weeds and other associated activities.

      2.d.    Becomes semi-skilled in using proper techniques of seeding, overseeding, sodding, watering, fertilizing, and removing and disposing of turf.

      2.e.    Properly transports, stores, applies, and handles fertilizers, soil conditioners, and other nonrestricted use materials associated with turf care.     

3.    FIELD PREPARATION-Assists and performs, with supervision, tasks associated with preparation of outdoor sports locations and athletic fields by painting or marking fields, making repairs to sports or athletic fields, track, and manufactured or natural playing surfaces.

      3.a.    Uses field preparation equipment properly such as mechanical and manual painters, chalking equipment, measuring tapes, aerators, top dressers, etc.

4.    ACCOUNTABILITY-Makes verbal reports to supervisor.   

      4.a.    Contributes to a positive work environment by communicating with courtesy and respect for others.

      4.b.    Contributes to a safe work environment by using appropriate Personal Protective Equipment and not abusing or mis-using equipment, machinery, or vehicles.

5.    IRRIGATION- Learns how to properly water plants using manual irrigation systems (hose, sprinkler, and manual underground systems).         

     5.a.    Learns how to maintain and operate automatic irrigation systems (including digital and electro-mechanical time clocks, pop-up heads, rotor heads, manual valves, electric solenoid valves and drip systems).

6.    WOODY PLANT CARE-Learns to recognize maintenance needs of trees, shrubs, and woody plantings.

      6.a.    Learns to identify common woody plants by type and by common name for purposes of record keeping, communication, and accuracy in performing work.

      6.b.    Becomes proficiently skilled in the operation of tools, equipment, and Machinery associated with planting, watering, pruning, fertilizing, planting, removing, and disposing of woody plants (such as pruners, loppers, pruning saws, stump grinders, dump trucks, and others).

      6.c.    Becomes semi-skilled in using proper techniques of planting, watering, pruning, fertilizing, removing, and disposing of woody plants.

7.       HERBACEOUS PLANT CARE-Learns to recognize maintenance needs of perennials, annuals, and herbaceous plantings.

      7.a.    Learns to identify common herbaceous plants.

      7.b.    Becomes proficiently skilled in the operation of tools, equipment, and Machinery associated with planting, watering, fertilizing, pruning, removing, and disposing of herbaceous plants.

      7.c.    Becomes semi-skilled in using proper techniques of planting, watering, pruning, fertilizing, removing, and disposing of herbaceous plants.

8.    HARDSCAPE-Learns to recognize maintenance needs of rock walls, retaining walls, benches, outdoor furniture, etc.

      8.a.    Becomes proficiently skilled in the operation of tools, equipment, and machinery associated with hardscape maintenance.

      8.b.    Becomes semi-skilled in using proper installation, maintenance, and removal techniques associated with hardscape maintenance.

9.    PEST MANAGEMENT-Learns safe and proper methods of handling and applying chemicals used in groundskeeping (non-restricted use pesticides, sprayer cleaners, and others) by wearing appropriate personal protective equipment such as rubber gloves, masks, boots, goggles and other protective clothing.   

      9.a.    Follows verbal or written directions for preparing chemicals for application according to specifications, applying the chemicals properly on grounds and landscapes designated for their use, and disposing of residual chemical products as directed, or storing and labeling them for future use.

      9.b.    Becomes familiar with factors involved in storing, transporting and handling pesticides and other chemicals.

      9.c.    Learns to identify common pest problems.

      9.d.    Learns and uses cultural, non-chemical techniques of pest control.

10.    DEBRIS REMOVAL-Becomes proficiently skilled in manually removing litter, trash, leaves and debris from landscapes, drains, lawns, streets, etc.

      10.a.    Becomes semi-skilled in the operation of tools, equipment, and machinery associated with litter, trash, leaf, and debris removal.

      10.b.    Becomes semi-skilled in using proper techniques associated with debris removal.

11.    TRANSIT-Assists in preventing accidents resulting from snow- or ice-covered walkways by removing mowing decks and installing snow removal equipment on tractors and other power units.

      11.a.    Learns safe and proper methods of storing, transporting, handling, and applying chemicals and materials such as cleaners, ice-melting chemicals, sealers, patching materials, and others used in maintaining thoroughfares by wearing appropriate personal protective equipment such as rubber gloves, masks, boots, goggles, and other protective clothing.

      11.b.    Learns to operate, loaders, blades, plows, and shovels to remove snow or ice from surfaces covered with ice and / or snow.

      11.c.    Learns to prepare, operate, and clean rotary spreaders, to apply ice-melting chemicals (salt, calcium chloride, potassium chloride, etc.) and traction enhancement material such as sand, chat, or others on surfaces covered with ice and /or snow.

      11.d.    Knows the rules of the road for vehicles and mobile equipment.

      11.e.    Becomes semi-skilled in operating equipment associated with maintaining the transitway, bike racks, signs, and bollards. parking lots, park & ride, etc. such as power washers, brooms, sweepers, scrubbers, etc.

      11.f.    Safely operates light vehicles such as pickup trucks, street sweepers, riding mowers, forklifts, skid loaders, and tractors by obeying appropriate traffic laws and wearing appropriate safety gear such as goggles, gloves, safety glasses, ear plugs or other personal protective equipment.

      11.g.    Becomes knowledgeable in the handling, storage, and use of deicing chemicals and compounds.

12.    CLERICAL-Learns to accurately fill out work orders, vehicle check in/out forms, and other records.   

      12.a.    Uses timecards properly.

      12.b.    Provides information to supervisor when appropriate and when asked.

13.    APTITUDE-Reliably performs regular, scheduled, and directed grounds maintenance by learning to use tools, vehicles, equipment, machines, and prescribed techniques according to standards.

      13.a.    Becomes proficient in finding way around campus to areas as assigned.

14.    Contributes to a work environment that encourages knowledge of, respect for, and development of skills to engage with those of other cultures or backgrounds.

15.    Contributes to the overall success of the Grounds Department by performing all other related duties as assigned.
The Groundskeeper Apprentice is supervised by the assigned foreman and/or The Supervisor of Grounds Services.