Polo groom employers will be able to take on apprentices from 2017
Prime Minister David Cameron has just announced the approval of the Equine Groom and Senior Equine Groom Apprenticeships’ Standards. A cross-discipline group representing all facets of equestrianism has drawn up these new apprenticeships. The Steering Group is made up of about 50 individuals at the top of their discipline, wanting to produce complete and practical grooms, with excellent transferable skills and work ethos.
There is a growing demand for grooms in polo as immigration, visas and foreign work permits are becoming more complex, expensive and time-consuming. The average polo school or livery yard require all-year-round staff that have the specialist skill-set for the polo industry. The introduction of apprenticeships could be the perfect solution to the problem. David Morley, who heads up Polo Permits and the HPA Welfare Committee spoke to Polo Times, “This is a very exciting time for polo as we now have a recognised route for people to learn and have the skills required to move into the polo industry.” There is also the argument that, not only will apprentices learn more about polo whilst on-the-job, but also polo pony welfare standards will increase as employers are able to train their staff for the job in hand from day one.
Sue Martin, Chairman of the Equestrian Trailblazers, said to Polo Times, “These standards have been carefully formulated to fulfil the Government’s aim to produce world class apprentices.” Prior to submission to the Government for approval, these new standards were publicised via various press channels across the country and received an overall 93% approval from employers, confirming the need for change in preparing future professionals for the equestrian industry. This was also included in the May issue of Polo Times this year.
Nick Boles, the Minister for Skills, said to Polo Times, “Businesses are better placed than anyone to train the next generation of workers and will help us deliver 3 million high-quality apprenticeships by 2020.” This is the first time that the entire equestrian industry has come together to work as a team, highlighting the importance of this vital project. The second phase is due to start in early September when work on the Assessment plans for these apprenticeships will commence to facilitate the new programme. To read about the new standards through Equine Trailblazers click here. To read about the finer details of apprenticeships for equine grooms laid out by the Government click here.
Photograph: Polo employers can now look forward to home-grown British grooms. By Lucy Wilson