Cheshire Racing Hub turns spotlight on horseracing careers

Young people are being encouraged to ‘kick on’ into a racing career thanks to a new project which turns the spotlight onto Cheshire’s thriving horseracing industry.

‘Racing Through Education’ has been launched by Cheshire Racing Hub to promote the wide choice of attractive careers available in the industry to secondary school pupils, college students and veterinary undergraduates.

The initiative is being led by Cheshire West and Chester Council as part of its rural regeneration strategy, with support from partners Reaseheath College in Nantwich, the University of Liverpool and Chester Race Company.

Reaseheath College, a leader in equine education, is for the first time offering a bespoke racing module within its equine courses which has been taken up by over 40 students. The University of Liverpool, which has an international reputation for its equine veterinary and research specialisms, is encouraging future vets at the Philip Leverhulme Equine Hospital, Wirral, to look at opportunities within the industry while Chester Race Company operates Chester and Bangor-on-Dee racecourses, key venues for racegoers.

Local schools and colleges are being encouraged to promote horseracing as an exciting, but often unrecognised, career route which is available locally. The message coincides with national publicity about a critical staff shortage in the racing industry. Project co-ordinator is Sophie Keepax, a Reaseheath Higher Education equine course manager and lecturer.

Cheshire Racing Hub was formed in 2013 to promote horseracing as a career among school and college students and to encourage the growth of equine businesses and investment in Cheshire. This followed research which identified horse racing as a key economic driver within the region.

After a break in funding, the partnership has received a second grant of £13,920 from the British Horseracing Grant Scheme to continue its work with young people through ‘Racing Through Education’. The project is part of the British Horseracing Authority’s ‘Racing Together’ scheme to promote careers in racing and to raise the profile of racing nationally within communities.

Speaking at the Malpas yard of point to point trainer Oliver Greenall, where the ‘Racing Though Education’ launch was held, Chair of Cheshire Racing Hub Kay Kent said: “Horse racing is growing in economic importance to Cheshire and we are delighted to receive this second grant to highlight the careers opportunities available to young people across the county, from both rural and urban backgrounds.

“It’s important that young people fully realise just how many rewarding jobs are available, not just riding and  caring for racehorses but within the support industries such as farriery, veterinary services,  equine dentistry and physiotherapy, nutrition  and racing administration. We will be working with both local and national training providers involved with racing to ensure young people have all the information they need to take their first steps into a racing career.”

For further details on ‘Racing Through Education’ contact Sophie Keepax

Picture caption: Racing Through Education’ launches with (l-r) Sue Griffith (Work Related Co-ordinator, Bishop Heber High School); Sophie Keepax (Project Co-Ordinator); Dr Jan Birch (Higher Education Programme Leader, Reaseheath College); Dr Ellen Singer (Senior Lecturer in Equine Orthopaedics, (University of Liverpool); Jeannie Chantler (General Manager, Bangor on Dee Racecourse); Oliver Greenall (Oliver Greenall Racing); Kay Kent (Chair of Cheshire Racing Hub); Sean O’Connor (Community Engagement Manager, Racing Together); Carrie Ford (Regional Education Officer, British Horseracing Education and Standards Trust); Ellie Morris ( Rural Regeneration Programme Manager, Cheshire West and Chester Council)

Racing careers could be a good bet for Reaseheath equine students

Reaseheath College equine students are keen to kick on into horse racing careers following an action packed event focused on the industry.

Jobs from jockey to media specialist were described by key members of Cheshire’s thriving and highly competitive horse racing industry at a careers day organised by the Cheshire Racing Hub and held at Reaseheath’s Equestrian Centre.

The range of opportunities seemed a good bet for the 120 students who attended, many of whom were eager to learn about related careers such as bloodstock breeding, farriery, physiotherapy and equine nutrition.

Speakers included Carrie Ford, a Co-ordinator for the British Horseracing Education and Standards Trust, who described the varied roles on a professional racing yard and how well paid many of the jobs are, with a guaranteed pension scheme and a percentage of the prize money going to staff. An assistant trainer and top jockey who raced in the Grand National, Carrie also brought along some racing tack and equipment.

Point to point trainer Oliver Greenall rode two of his racehorses in the college’s indoor arena to demonstrate training for optimum fitness while Will Kinsey, National Hunt trainer and bloodstock specialist, described buying young horses from sales and what to look for. He also talked the students through online racing websites and how to enter horses for relevant races.

Sarah Beattie, Marketing Manager from the Northern Racing College, gave students a taster of race riding on Reaseheath’s mechanical horse ‘Flicka’ and described the courses and apprenticeships available for those who want to specialise in racing.

Lucinda Dutton from Chester Racecourse talked about her role in marketing and her work with sponsors. She also discussed the size and scope of the industry and the many graduate traineeships available.

Jo Miles, Head Veterinary Nurse for the Hampton Veterinary Group, talked about dealing with injuries and described routes into veterinary nursing.

The event was organised by Emma Owen and Sarah Hamlyn, Project Co-ordinators for the Cheshire Racing Hub as part of its ‘careers in racing’ initiative. Funded by the British Horseracing Authority and Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the Cheshire Racing Hub aims to link schools, colleges and businesses so they connect into the exciting sport of horse racing.

The initiative is being led by Cheshire West and Chester Council as part of its rural regeneration strategy and is supported by the county’s leading racing yards and associated businesses. Project partners include Reaseheath College, the University of Chester and the University of Liverpool’s Veterinary School.

Recognising that horse racing is a key area for employment, Reaseheath’s  equine team is now looking at more ways to help students to prepare for careers in the industry

Equine Programme Leader Sarah Houghton said: “The event was a fantastic success and the calibre of guests and speakers was excellent. Their experience and passion for the industry was tangible and the students came away with lots of exciting opportunities to consider. Horse racing is big business, particularly in Cheshire, and it offers many career options.”

“I am very grateful for the time and effort put in by all the speakers and particularly to Sarah Hamlyn and Emma Owen for organising the event and giving our students such a fantastic opportunity.”

Level 3 Extended Diploma in Horse Management student Tara Taylor, 18, who owns an ex-racehorse herself, said: “This has been a really good event.  I’ve learned a lot about the racing industry and I’m now really interested in looking at a career in the bloodstock industry.”

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