International Three-Day Event rider Tom Rowland is climbing the British Eventing Rankings with highlights including Possible Mission jumping clear for a top 50% at Badminton in 2019 and the arrival of Very Good Tempo who is already showing his solid consistency in 4*.
For the last three years, Tom and his team have employed apprentices and have so far had two apprentices at an intermediate level, with one looking to progress soon onto an advanced level apprenticeship with them as well.
Mentor at Tom Rowland Eventing, Alison Sharpe, spoke to us about how apprenticeship programmes can help recognise the achievements and progression of equine staff, as well as supporting their development.
“We chose to go down the road of apprenticeships partly because we were tired of seeing young, enthusiastic horsey people joining yards and not being properly treated. As an ex-teacher, I was particularly keen to see young people continue with their education and training, in line with government regulations, up to the age of eighteen. We opted to use Haddon Training because we knew of their work locally and they came recommended.
Both our apprentices have been exceptional students. Their enthusiasm and commitment has meant that the yard has been easier to run efficiently and the horses have benefitted from their care.
We are very committed to apprenticeships mainly because of the practical nature of the course. Apprentices are learning on the job and when you are working with horses, who can be unpredictable and occasionally difficult, nothing can replace hands on experience. You can read as many books as you like and attend any number of lectures, but without actually being on a yard for a sustained period, you will not learn how to cope with the day-to-day experiences being on a yard will give you.
Our first apprentice had some specific learning difficulties. Nevertheless, he worked hard and gained his intermediate qualification. This required significant support from Haddon Training’s Trainer-Coaches, and required them to build strong, positive relationships with him. They were able to recognise his enthusiasm and his love of the horses and dedicated a great deal of time to support him through the course. In addition, our yard staff contributed a great deal of time to teaching him the skills he required.
Our apprentices have learnt to work in a fast moving, challenging yard environment with a variety of different horses. Importantly too, they have learnt to work in a team where it is vital to support one another. They have also learnt to be good employees: being on time, working hard, being reliable etc.
Apprentices need time and support from their employers in order to learn these skills. This can be through the rest of the team as well, but it does require commitment. Some employers may feel that sixteen is young to be working on a yard; in our experience, what matters most is the apprentice’s commitment and work ethic.
We have much enjoyed working with our apprentices. They have become valued members of the team, gaining in confidence and improving their skills and knowledge. They have given Tom Rowland Eventing huge commitment and effort. We have thoroughly enjoyed having them and recognise the many achievements they have made since they began with us.”
Thank you to Alison and Tom for sharing their experiences of apprenticeships, and how they have helped their learners to achieve and develop.
If you would like to find out more about apprenticeships or how to start your career simply contact our friendly team today.