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Evan Williams counters the 'doom and gloom merchants' over staffing crisis

Evan Williams: "Let's be positive and get on with the job!"
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Trainer Evan Williams has stressed that racing's worries about staffing problems must be put into context and urged the sport to take a positive approach.

Research carried out by the BHA and ITV Racing estimated there to be a staffing shortfall of around 1,000 across Britain, despite high rates of worker enjoyment and increasing numbers of people taking up employment in racing.

Champion trainer Nicky Henderson said on Saturday he was "frightened to death" by the issue, while Dan Skelton, another major employer, was among those to support his view as to some of the difficulties in attracting and retaining workers.

However, Williams said on Sunday: "I'm not pretending it's not a problem but I don't think racing is alone in facing this type of thing.

"Look at the rural economy as a whole, it doesn't matter if you're milking cows, running a bed and breakfast or whatever – getting people to work in a rural environment is harder than it's ever been.

"But you have to work it out, that's what being a businessman is all about – if something's not going right you try to work a way round it."

Williams, who has trained under a full licence in south Wales since 2003, also pointed to the size of top stables nowadays.

"Thirty years ago if you had 50 horses in a yard you were a very big yard and obviously your staffing needs were very different to what they are now," he said.

"The trainers moaning and groaning have hundreds of horses, so of course they need a different level of staffing to cope with the amount of work they've got on in one establishment now.

"But how is it going to encourage people into the industry and encourage them to stay if everybody who is interviewed starts moaning about things?

"We have to say: 'Yes, we could do with more people helping in the yard but we can offer them this and that, they can do this and that', rather than moaning – let's be positive and get on with the job! Doom and gloom merchants get you nowhere."

If you're milking cows, running a bed and breakfast or whatever ? getting people to work in a rural environment is harder than it's ever been

Key data

Evan Williams
E.W. Terms