25 Apr 2016

Ready for the Off at Askham Bryan College

Askham Bryan College, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) and the Racing Foundation have joined forces to launch a new initiative to help address the current staff shortage in racing and inspire more young people to pursue careers within the industry.

Askham_Bryan_Racing3_380_262The £700,000 ‘Racing Stream’ initiative will see the development of a purpose-built racing yard, including all-weather gallops, outdoor school, 16-box stable block and ancillary facilities at the College’s York campus. This investment includes a pledge from the Racing Foundation towards the costs of the all-weather gallops and racing yard. It will bring a new element to the training of the College’s 300 equine students and will provide a range of racing-related courses at all levels, including stable staff, work riders, racing secretaries, sports turf management, pony racing, point-to-point jockey training and there will also be a PhD course.

Askham Bryan made its racing debut last year with the construction of a point-to-point course which has been used successfully by the Badsworth and Bramham Moor and West of Yore hunts as well as by students studying a range of courses.

The Racing Stream has generated local and industry-wide support and a Racing Technical Advisory Committee has been established at the College to steer its development. Those whom have expressed support include the National Trainers Federation, the National Association of Stable Staff, many of the northern-based trainers (including Mark Johnston, whose wife, Deirdre sits on the Advisory Committee), Yorkshire racecourses, the Pony Racing Authority, the Point-to-Point Association, North Yorkshire County Council and the North Yorkshire LEP.

Rob Hezel, Chief Executive of the Racing Foundation said: “We are delighted to be supporting this initiative and welcome the additional training capacity it will provide for the horseracing industry. The Racing Stream will complement the existing provision at the British Racing School in Newmarket and the Northern Racing College in Doncaster, and ensure a comprehensive range of training opportunities for those interested in working in racing.”

His words were echoed by Carole Goldsmith, Director of People and Development at the BHA who commented: “We are keen to develop additional entry routes for racing industry entrants, particularly those who, with the correct knowledge and training, will provide a new pool of potential stable employees. This will give the industry a valuable additional training facility which each year will create hands-on racing expertise for 80 well-trained stud and stable staff as well as for a variety of other qualified personnel, such as, grounds staff, racing secretaries and veterinary nurses. We see this training provision as complementing the work of the existing racing schools and are keen to encourage collaborative activities between these important training providers.”

Liz Philip, Executive Principal of Askham Bryan College said: “This is exciting and extremely significant, not only for those with the dream of a career in racing but for UK racing as a whole. It is hugely encouraging that our vision has been recognised so enthusiastically by the industry and beyond. The opportunities for young people are enormous - the Askham Bryan College Racing Stream will provide the skills and training needed to get that first foot on the racing ladder.”

Mrs Philip added: “We are perfectly placed to help respond to the skills shortages reported by the BHA, as not only is Yorkshire renowned for first class racing, but our York campus is ideally situated between Malton and Middleham, the two main centres of racehorse training in the North. In addition, we already have strong links with industry, our equine courses are thriving, and we are the only UK college to have a point-to-point course on campus. “

Related courses available at Askham Bryan include Equine Sports Management, Equine Care and Management, Equine Science, Event Management, Veterinary Nursing and Sports Turf Management. A number of students already work at racing yards and take up employment within the industry on graduating. The college also has a long standing link with international trainer and Olympian, Chris Bartle. Students have the benefit of visiting his yard at the Yorkshire Riding Centre as part of their practical studies.