All walks of life represented in second intake for innovative stud work course
National Stud scheme aims to get more mature individuals into the industry
The National Stud in Newmarket has brought together another group of more mature individuals from varying walks of life for the second year of its innovative Entry to Stud Employment programme.
E2SE, as the scheme run in partnership with the Thoroughbred Breeders' Association is known in short, aims to recruit adults aged 18 to anything – with or without previous equine experience – into stud work.
The first E2SE intake undertook a nine-week residency at the National Stud learning the ropes of working hands-on with horses last November and December before embarking on longer work placements at breeding operations around the country.
The Racing Post spoke to a trio of the pioneering students in January and, on the principle that two out of three ain't bad, the good news is that only one has since dropped out of stud work.
Max McLoughlin, who joined E2SE after graduating from Durham University with a degree in history, is at Cheveley Park Stud, where he has been undertaking his first yearling prep, while Gavin Teversham, who walked away from a 15-year stretch as a chef to enrol on the course, is a key member of the team at Blue Diamond Stud.
Mick Littlefair, who at the age of 56 had switched from a career as a pipe-fitter in the construction industry, has returned to his previous role but due to personal circumstances rather than any failure to adapt to the different way of life.
In all, 11 of the 12 students on the inaugural course were given work placements and ten are still employed in the industry, the majority by their original employers. Nine have already completed the Level 2 work-based diploma in racehorse care for breeding.
National Stud training director Tabbi Smith says: “The first E2SE went extremely well – what was noticeable was the appetite the first cohort had for the initial residential training and then the excitement about their placement experience.
“They certainly had to hit the ground running going into their first breeding season, but that was the best thing in that they were learning all the time and that their employers encouraged them to experience as much as was possible.
“The employers are also very pleased with the scheme and all have been positive about taking the wider age range and the performance of those who have completed. We have a waiting list of employers, large and small, from around the UK interested in taking E2SE year two trainees already.”
Smith reports that the E2SE class of 2018 comprises students aged between 18 and 56, with an equal split between men and women.
There is once again a wide range of backgrounds represented – a former senior member of the police, a teacher, a legal executive, a barmaid, an ex-British Racing School pupil, a college leaver, a high-level PA and a business analyst in the financial sector.
There are a few modifications of the course to report.
“We did of course review the first year and have taken the feedback from the trainees and employers to improve the experience and preparation of the trainees,” says Smith. “First off, we are increasing even more the day-to-day handling of horses for the trainees. Tim [Lane, National Stud director] is very keen to get the trainees involved – safely, obviously! – from day one.
“Also, as the stud builds on its southern hemisphere mare boarding, it means that the trainees have even more opportunity to witness vet work, teasing and scanning as part of a daily routine prior to the start of the northern season.
“We've also decided to increase the amount of background knowledge the trainees are exposed to. This is being helped by bringing in the Introduction to the Horse Racing Industry accredited award, encouraging E2SE trainees to attend the National Stud’s recently restarted Pedigree Club and increasing the number of evening activities to widen the trainees' knowledge before starting in placement.”
Lane, who has overseen the implementation of E2SE in his first year at the helm of the National Stud, adds: “It's a great scheme as it offers people the chance to change careers and come into stud work a little bit older and a little bit wiser. That in turn gives their future employer a little bit of security and extra confidence.
“The support of the TBA has been crucial in getting it off the ground. It's something they recognise needs to be done to help ease the industry-wide staffing crisis.”
While this year's E2SE scheme is full, applications are still being accepted for next year's diploma in stud practice and management, whose previous graduates include industry heavyweights Lord Grimthorpe and Angus Gold.
“We're delighted with the excellent recruitment numbers for both the E2SE and diploma course,” says Smith. “There are a few spaces left on the 2019 diploma so any potential applicants need to apply soon in order to make the final interview date and be considered for the 2019 intake.
“With 100 per cent employment of the 2018 graduates, the diploma is just the thing to kickstart a career in thoroughbreds. Application forms can be downloaded from the National Stud website, and graduate case studies are posted everyday via the stud’s Facebook page National Stud Training.”
The diploma course can be a stepping stone to gaining work experience in some of the most prestigious studs worldwide, with recent students placed with Timber Town Stables in Kentucky and trainer Ciaron Maher in Australia.