Racing ahead with skills and learning

Once again we have been confirmed for further funding for the next year taking the project into its sixth year with the opportunity to also expand further. In 2017 we have successfully run courses in Middleham which has seen many people take part.  

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This opportunity for racing staff to expand their qualifications is fantastic. Whatever the reason they have chosen to do them for, it is an opportunity that has cost them nothing. As always all of our courses are free of charge for staff to take part on, they also include refreshments and a lunch so even more reason to come along.  

The past year has also seen courses in Newmarket taking place as normal, with the most signed up being the ESOL (English Speaking of Other Languages) course. These courses are always over-subscribed and we often have to split into two class to help them run better.  

In 2018, we are looking to head down to the South West to be able to offer the same opportunities to the racing staff as long as the demand is there whilst also looking to start with courses again in Malton if possible. Lambourn is another area that we have had some interest from and if we can get something going there too it would be great.  

The courses we are able to run are:

  • English Functional Skills
  • Maths Functional Skills
  • ICT Functional Skills
  • ESOL (English Speaking of Other Languages)

The project now five years old has been for myself, NARS, and the racing staff across the country a fantastic success. With learners up and down the country taking part with mobile learning centres set up in Epsom, Lambourn, Malton and Middleham.  

The centre in Newmarket has been running courses continuously in the five years. Courses have been run in English, maths, ICT, ESOL (English Speaking of Other Languages) and mentoring. All helping to improve skills for the racing staff.  

We have had many people take part for various reasons from wanting to improve their skills to move sideways to other jobs within the industry, some to improve their skills to leave the industry and a few that have come in to refresh their skills to be able to help their own children with their homework/revision for exams at school. Some of the staff that have come to upskill from our courses that have gone onto other employment include people now working as a postman, taxi driver, carer and dog groomer.  

Staff that have sidestepped in the industry have seen them go from work rider/grooms to now working in the office at some of the biggest yards in the country, something they wouldn’t have had the confidence to possibly do so before completing our courses.  

The project over the five years has engaged with 952 racing staff, whether that is them taking part on a course, writing their CV with them, giving them careers advice and guidance. 

As well as this, I also chat to students at the British Racing School and Northern Racing College before they head off into the industry. Helping to highlight the many various job roles within the industry, the training available to help them achieve their goals and share my experiences of my time working in racing.  

All of this wouldn’t have been possible without our providers that run the courses for us, currently West Suffolk College in Newmarket of who we have formed a great relationship with and the North Yorkshire Adult Learning and Skills Service, who have been our provider in Middleham. In the past we have also used the City Of Bristol College who helped get the project off the ground and East Riding College who ran the course for us in Malton.  

Whilst the project is re-funded each year depending on outcomes and progress of the project, lets hope for another five years!  

It is great to host courses wherever they are needed and if any interest in any type of course please get in touch with myself Kevin Parsons at [email protected] 

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Kevin Parsons

Kevin Parsons is Union Learning Fund (ULF) Project Manager with the National Association of Racing Staff (NARS).

The union has successfully bid for funding in the latest round of ULF Projects and in this blog Kevin talks about the work the union did around learning last year and the opportunities that the ULF Project offers members of NARS for 2018-19.