Saturday, December 11, 2021
KILDARE South TD and Minister for State in Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Martin Heydon and his Government colleague, Simon Harris, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, were in attendance at The Curragh this week as the racing industry’s education and skills cohort showed off their wares.

Ministers Martin Heydon and Simon Harris meeting apprentice farriers Brian O’Reilly and Ben McAteer from the Irish School of Farrier at the Irish Horse Racing and Breeding Industry Education and Skills Showcase hosted by equuip

The event was hosted by equuip, Horse Racing Ireland’s education and training department, and brought together many elements of the learning community in the racing and breeding industry.
Minister Harris and Minster Heydon met students, apprentices and graduates from a host of industry learning centres such as equuip, the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB), RACE – Racing Academy and Centre of Education, the Irish Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association (ITBA), the Irish National Stud, the Farrier School, Together for Racing International (TFRI), Godolphin Flying Start – thoroughbred industry leadership programme, Agri Aware and Teagasc.Michael Grassick, Chief Executive of the Irish Racehorse Trainers’ Association represented the major employers in the industry, while Dunboyne College of Further Education, who will partner with equuip on a number of educational pilot programmes in 2022, were also there.

Carol Nolan, Director of People and Industry Education at Horse Racing Ireland, presented an overview of the current recruitment challenges for the industry, the data gleaned from industry employment research, and the strategic priorities for Horse Racing Ireland in the area of industry employment and education.

“We are very grateful to Minister Harris and Minister Heydon for their interest and warm engagement on Monday. It was noteworthy how broad the education offering is in racing and breeding, and there is a huge range of opportunities for people who would like to enter the industry, or those in the industry who would like to further their skills.”

Simon Harris, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, said: “I was so delighted to visit The Curragh and hear from a range of stakeholders across the horse racing industry. We know how vital this industry is to Ireland and we need to showcase what we have here to the world.

“I was also so delighted to see Horse Racing Ireland partnering with our Further Education Sector to ensure that they have the skills they need in the industry. These industry collaborations are vital to ensuring apprenticeship can provide a real and substantive career pathway, with the ability to learn and earn, knowing that you will also receive a recognised qualification. Next year, we will launch a new Stud Farm Assistant apprenticeship programme.

“We have seen the success of the farrier apprenticeship, but it is important we continue to create pathways for people across the industry and that is something I committed to when meeting HRI this week. There is a world of possibility for the horse racing industry to help develop more apprenticeships to drive further jobs growth.”

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