The British Racing School runs an Apprenticeship programme in Racehorse Care which is open to absolute beginners! What’s the catch?
There isn’t one, as long as you are an EU citizen* aged 16 – 22 years old and are physically fit then we will invite you to the School for an interview. If you prove to us you have what it takes you will be accepted onto a 14 week pre-apprenticeship programme. Successful completion, at the required standard, of the pre-apprenticeship course leads to a full- time paid job in the horseracing industry where we support you in completing your Apprenticeship.
The British Racing School is a registered training provider and therefore you can continue your education with us when you leave School and you will be satisfying Government requirements to stay in education or training until you are 18.
We typically interview students up to a year before they arrive, the course is extremely popular and places are limited so don’t delay, fill in an application form today! At interview you will be given a tough fitness test, be given a thorough tour of the School and all the information you need about the course. Why not visit us first at one of our OPEN DAYS? If you have any questions, or you are not sure if you are eligible, please contact our recruitment team on 01638 675905 or email@example.com
Are you under 14? You could complete your course during years 10 and 11 on a day release programme from School. This is called the Flexible Learning Programme (FLP). Click here for more details.
The pre-apprenticeship course is fully residential and all tuition and learning materials are completely FREE. The length of the course will depend on your experience and will be either 9 or 14 weeks long. During this time we will teach you;
- To ride racehorses in control and according to instructions, you will ride 2 lots every day
- To muck out and administer daily grooming, feeding and care for racehorses. You will have 2 or 3 horses to care for during your residential course
- To prepare a horse for going racing
- Help you to achieve your functional skills English and Maths
- Help you to achieve your Apprenticeship which includes your Level 2 Diploma in Racehorse Care
- Help you to achieve your First Aid Certificate
- Team building
- How to budget and manage your finances living away from home
- Diet and nutrition to help you maintain your weight and a healthy diet
- Personal safety
- Drug and alcohol awareness
- Personal health including sexual education
- Equality & diversity in the workplace
- Road Safety
Towards the end of your residential course we will work together to determine where in the country, and for which trainer, will best suit your personal circumstances and ambitions. If you have successfully completed the course at the required standard you will then go into a full time, fully paid job where you will complete your Apprenticeship. This typically takes 18 months. Our workplace Instructors will visit you in the yard when you are working to help you complete your portfolio.
This course is the first step to becoming a Jockey. Once you have completed this course you can prove to your employer that you have got the talent to be a jockey and if he or she agrees, they will apply to the British Horseracing Authority to request you come back to The British Racing School to do your Jockey Licence Course.*Please note our current government contract does not allow us to take students from Northern Ireland.
If you complete all of the course, at the end of the 18 month course you will have achieved a Level 2 Diploma in Racehorse Care + Functional Skills + Technical Certificate = Apprenticeship in Racehorse Care
This is equivalent to 5 pass grade GCSE’s !
Once you have completed your Apprenticeship in Racehorse Care you can continue your qualifications and complete your Advance Apprenticeship in Racehorse Care and Management (Level 3 Diploma) which is equivalent to 2 A-Level and then go on to complete your Foundation Degree in Horse Racing. To learn more about these courses select the relevant course from our quick links at the side of the page.
1 – Racing is exciting!
Join over 3,300 people who work in racing all over the country and experience the adrenaline rush of riding racehorses at speed.
2 – Work with top class, valuable animals.
You will be key part of developing some of the best thoroughbreds in the world in a professional environment. Imagine the thrill of seeing your horse which you have ridden and looked after every day win a big race and lead it into the winners enclosure. Racing also offers opportunities to travel throughout the UK and worldwide.
3 – The best training and career opportunities
The Racing industry offers real opportunities to progress your career and gain more qualifications, plus the pay structure in racing is linked to qualifications so you will be rewarded for your achievements. Whether you dream of being a trainer, a professional jockey or working in the administration and managements side of the industry there is training available each step of the way. Have a look at the rest of our courses for information or call us on 01638 665103 for an informal chat.
4 – Good pay and conditions
Racing is a very well regulated industry. This means that minimum rates of pay are set and you will be paid overtime for extra hours worked and Sunday racing. There is even a pension scheme and an riders insurance accident benefit scheme. For more details on the Racing Pay Structure see the National Trainers Federation website.
5 – Guaranteed job
Successful completion of the training at the required standard at the BRS leads to a guaranteed job. As far as we know, we are the only training provider who can offer this.
But don’t just take our word that we are good at what we do…
“I have employed graduates of the British Racing School since its inception and I feel they provide an invaluable service to the industry. The principle of training staff to a basic level before they enter full time employment is an excellent one and nobody does it better than the British Racing School”
Mark Johnston, Racehorse Trainer
‘Completing the Apprenticeship course at the BRS is one of the best things I have ever done,it really prepared me for working life in a racing yard,and since starting at Mark Johnston’s I have enjoyed every minute of it’
Louise Surridge, BRS Graduate 2015
“We have a very young team here at Dan Skelton Racing and recognise that the staff that join us view racing very much as a vocation. The BRS do a great job introducing these young people to the realities and complexities of working with horses both during their time at the BRS and in their ongoing workplace training. It is the nature of our industry that you learn your trade on the job and the opportunities that the BRS gives them to pursue their education and to obtain formal qualifications whilst in the workplace is invaluable both to the staff and the industry”
Dan Skelton, Racehorse Trainer
“The British Racing School do a wonderful job introducing young people into the Racing Game and then continuing to mentor them through the early years. One thing is for certain, trainers would be lost without their efforts”
Sir Mark Prescott, Racehorse Trainer
“The British Racing School provides young people with an ideal starting point for entering the racing industry. The courses provide them with the groundwork and support they need to work in a racing stable. The School plays an integral role in recruiting and encouraging people to join the industry which is vital for the future of the sport.”
Roger Varian, Racehorse Trainer
‘Every graduate we have employed from the BRS over the last 3 years has proven to be an excellent employee. The reference that each employee is given is always very accurate, and they arrive here well schooled as rider and groom. Furthermore, they are visited monthly by the BRS, and the pastoral care they receive from there is excellent. As a result we are delighted to take on anybody that the BRS recommend.’
Ralph Beckett, Racehorse Trainer
“I have had some wonderful stable staff from the British Racing School, who have arrived from their course enthusiastic and well prepared to work in a busy racing yard. The continued support from their workplace instructors is invaluable as it gives the trainees the help that they need to continue to progress in their chosen career.”
Kim Bailey, Racehorse Trainer
“We have regularly employed graduates from the British Racing School. The Training received is of a high standard and covers all areas of racing needed to enable the graduates to enter employment at our yard and continue their chosen career in the racing industry.”
Harry Fry, Racehorse Trainer
In Wales, the Apprenticeship,Programmes led by the Welsh Government, are supported by the European Social Fund.
A Typical Day
by student Kieran Kourdache, Head Lad for Course 312X
The day begins with a group of trusted students feeding the horses their breakfast. These students are assigned the position of ‘Barn Leader’ and are responsible for the upkeep, feeding and checking of that barn. The rest of the us make our way to the yard at 06:00 and begin mucking out the horses they have been assigned. This changes throughout the course, in order for students to experience all bedding types, such as straw, shavings and flax.
First lot pull out. We experience all of the great facilities the BRS have to offer. Beginning in the Indoor School, students learn the basics of riding the thoroughbred. From here, we progress on to the Outdoor Menage, then the Round Canter. Finally, spending the last 3 weeks or so on the straight 7 furlong all-weather gallop.
Arrive back from first lot. It is important that you make your horse feel comfortable when they return from exercise. This could mean a sponge down if they are sweaty, and definitely checking all shoes are in tact.
A fully cooked breakfast is on offer each day. This meal is usually eaten the quickest, as we are eager to get back to the yard to make sure we pull out on time for second lot.
Second lot pull out. Throughout the course, we are able to ride some fantastic horses, from Group 1 winning sprinters to fledgling 3 year olds. All of the horses test you and help you to develop enormously. Despite riding a number of horses, everyone soon develops favourites – it cannot be helped.
Arrive back from second lot. During your time on the yard, you will be allocated a Yard Job. Until lunch, it is our duty to carry out that job to the highest standard. Once that is done, the yards need to tidied and all horses hayed and watered. Team work is essential to make this quick and efficient.
Lunchtime. Now we have a few hours to relax, catch up on sleep and socialise. It is a really nice, relaxed atmosphere, with people sharing stories about the morning, more often than not.
Afternoon lectures begin. This is a session in which a varying range of topics are covered. Horses health to how to read a racecard – all essential skills needed for the workplace.
Evening stables begin. This is a time where you get to know your horse well, and your grooming skills are put to the test. Impeccable boxes show you have the right attitude. On the yard, you frequently are asked to show your box, so 100% effort is very important.
All the yards are fed and we make our way back up to the dining room for the evening meal. After this, there is time for you to change and freshen up before your evening activity.
Evening sessions begin. There are a range of evening sessions: fitness, racing history, first aid and cookery are just a few which your undertake during your stay.
Block jobs. You are allocated an area of the hostel to keep clean. This not only teaches you skills which you will need when living away from home, but also ensures that the hostel is kept clean at all times. This is followed by a meeting in which the Senior Trainees deliver notices about the day.
Off to bed. Sleep is so important, because the early starts mean you need as much energy as possible to be at your maximum throughout the day.
On Saturdays, we begin at 06:30. The horses have lighter exercise, and we aim for all the yards to be done for 11:00. You then have chance to go into Newmarket and have some downtime.
On Sundays, we have a lie-in until 07:30. We muck out then have the rest of the day to enjoy. We usually make a trip out of Newmarket to nearby Cambridge or Bury for a bit of shopping and some nice food.
My advice to anyone attending the BRS is quite cliche, but very true. By putting 100% effort into everything you do during your course, you will get as much out of the experience as possible. Be that person who always has perfect boxes, listens to instructions, is polite, volunteers for extra responsibility and respects both staff and students alike, and the amazing team of staff will notice you for the RIGHT reasons. You never know what opportunities might present themselves, and you want to be at the front of the queue when they do.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. I do not meet the weight requirements or I do not wish to ride?
A. If you are interested in working with racehorses and do not meet the entry requirements other opportunities may exist. The National Stud offer the breeding option of the Apprenticeship in Racehorse Care for further details contact Xavier Lam at The National Stud. If you are working full time in a racing yard and do not wish to ride please contact Kieran Kourdache on 01638 675905 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Q. I have a degree, can I still apply for the Apprenticeship?
A. Unfortunately we are unable to accept trainees for the Foundation Apprenticeship who have gained a university degree. There are many other courses that we offer though which may be of interest so either visit our other courses pages or contact Di Farrell-Thomas on 01638 665103 selecting option 2.
Q. I am not from an EU or EEA Country, can I still apply for the Apprenticeship?
A. Yes but you will not receive Government funding so you would be responsible for paying your own fees and you are unlikely to be able to complete the Apprenticeship in the workplace due to visa restrictions therefore you would only compete the initial training course (9 or 14 weeks). If you are interested in this option please contact Kieran Kourdache on 01638 665103 or email email@example.com
Q. Once I have applied, what happens next?
A. We will process your application and if you are eligible you will be invited (usually by email) to attend an interview at The British Racing School in Newmarket. This will give you an opportunity to view the School. You will have an interview, typically with the Director and the Senior Yard Instructor, and it is a good idea to bring your record of achievement and any references that you have obtained. If you are already working in a racing yard it is important that you obtain a reference from the Trainer PRIOR to attending the interview. After the interview you will be informed within 7 days if you have gained a place.
Q. If I am eligible will I automatically get a place at The British Racing School?
A. No, we have more applications for the Apprenticeship than we have places. You will need to demonstrate to us that you keen to work in racing and willing to learn.
Q. I already work for a Racehorse Trainer, can I still apply for the Apprenticeship?
A. Yes, in fact, under the Rules of Racing, if you are aged between 16 and 18 years and want to work in a Trainers yard you are required to undergo this training. If you are working in a trainers yard we would suggest that you contact Kieran Kourdache on 01638 675905 to discuss your situation.
Q. Why should I pick The British Racing School?
A. The British Racing School is a purpose built training centre on the outskirts of Newmarket, the Head Quarters of British horseracing. It is set in 120 acres of Suffolk countryside and is the only purpose built training facility of its type in Britain. The facilities include Indoor school, Outdoor Arena, 2½ furlong round all weather gallop, 7 furlong straight all weather and grass gallops, 50 acre grass gallops, Stalls and schooling fences, Equicisors and horse simulators, Radio instruction system while riding, Video recording of riding for performance analysis and Classrooms with state of the art technology. See our Training Facilities page.
Q. Should we bring anything other than our riding clothes?
A. Yes, we would advise that you bring casual clothes for the evenings and weekends. Also you may wish to bring smart clothing as you may get the opportunity to go racing while you are at the School. If you are accepted onto a course you will be sent joining instructions which gives a full kit list.
Q. Do I have to pay for Accommodation and Meals?
A. Yes, if you are starting to your course prior to January 2018. You will be asked to pay £450 to contribute towards the cost of accommodation and meals for the duration of your course, this is the same fee regardless of whether you complete a 9 or 14 week option. Courses commencing after January 2018 will be charged at £562.50. If your household income is low you may be eligible for a bursary to cover most of these costs, if you would like to know more about this bursary please contact Kieran Kourdache firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01638 675905.
Q. Do we need to bring any food?
A. You will be provided with a full breakfast, lunch, evening meal and supper. All meals have been passed by our nutritionist. There is a tuck shop which sells snacks but if there is a particular food type that you like you can bring this. There is a toaster and microwave in your common room.
Q. Is there a TV that we can watch?
A. Your common room is equipped with 50inch widescreen television with Sky TV. You also have computers so that you can access the internet, a pool table and an air hockey table. You may wish to bring your ipod/MP3 player or laptop/tablet but this is done so at your own risk. The British Racing School cannot be held responsible for your personal belongings. These can only be used during your lunch hour or in the evenings after lectures.
Q. I have tried to contact The British Racing School by telephone but have been unsuccessful, what can I do?
A. If you have been unable to speak to a member of the recruitment team despite leaving a message please contact the Operations Director, Duncan Gregory on 01638 675902 and state that this has been the case.
Q. Can I do a Level 1 Diploma in Work Based Racehorse Care and Riding?
A. Although we offer the Level 1 Diploma for 14-15 year olds as part of the Flexible Learning Programme we do not offer it for Foundation Course students. We believe that only the Level 2 Diploma syllabus can prepare you for working in full-time employment in the industry and to be able to work relatively independently from day one of employment. We deliver the majority of the Level 2 Diploma qualifications gained in Racehorse Care in Great Britain and the Level 2 Diploma is linked to the pay grade in racing, unlike the Level 1.
The following are tips from previous students:
“Bring deep heat for aching muscles!”
“Bring change for the tuck shop”
“You can only wear stud earrings, no facial piercings”
“It’s hard work but fun, and no matter what your experience you will feel useless to start with! But it does get better!!!”
“You don’t need a hat silk so don’t buy a new one to come here”
Funding for the Foundation Training Course is provided, in part, by the UK Government. Applications from overseas are also welcome and for EU and EEA residents the training is free of charge.
*please note our current government contract does not allow us to take students from Northern Ireland.
We have had students from Ireland, Italy, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Holland, Estonia and South Africa!
If you are not from an EU/EEA country you can still attend the School but the full cost of the course would need to be met by the applicant. For more information please contact Kieran Kourdache on 44 (0)1638 665103.
If you are from an international Jockey Club, authority or training centre and would like to learn more about The British Racing School International Jockey Training please click here
Open days are run every month and give you and your family the opportunity to have a look around The British Racing School and ask any questions you may have.
The tour starts at The British Racing School in Newmarket and will then go on to visit a trainers yard to see what life in a yard is really like. They start at 9.30, finish around 12.30 and are completely free. There is no riding involved but it is advised that you wear suitable footwear for walking in the yard.
These days are extremely popular and we would therefore ask that you call Kieran Kourdache to let us know how many people you will be bringing. Please contact on 01638 675905.
Saturday 24th November 2018
Saturday 15th December 2018
Thursday 21st February 2019
Saturday 23rd March 2019
Thursday 18th April 2019
Aged 16- 22 and keen to work in racing? Apply here
Tuition is free for EU/EEA residents. Accommodation and meals for the duration of the course are provided at a cost of £562.50 for 9 and 14 week courses and £250 for 4 week courses.
There is currently a bursary available to cover a percentage of this cost if the person comes from a household with a low income. Please contact us to seek advice or support regarding bursary eligibility.
To view our full policy on Bursary please click here http://www.brs.org.uk/about-us/policies/