Last month we launched our first ever Careers in Racing Step on Track Programme. This was aimed at those from an ethnic background to allow them to explore the vast amount of opportunities and exciting career routes in the sport of horseracing. The reason behind this new programme was to take position action at the lack of BAME representation within British racing.
The programme, which was sponsored by Sky Sports Racing, took place during the October half term. The participants took part in various talks and sessions via Zoom for around one hour each day. The week kicked off with a welcome to the course by the Programme Leader, Sean Simara (Careers Marketing and Recruitment Assistant at the BHA), who explained to the group that they should feel proud to be on this debut course. The programme was put on not only to encourage participants to find out more about the industry and the careers within it, but to take advantage of the speakers they were introduced to, and use as mentors moving forward.
Kathy Stringer and Dave James from Equine Productions showcased all that goes into the TV and film side of the industry. The group enjoyed a look at some of the exciting kit they use when filming in a “show and tell” themed session. The group got to see and hear what life is like for a TV Presenter working in horseracing when Sky Sports Racing TV Presenter, Josh Apiafi, spoke. He talked about his passion and what it is like working and presenting on one of the biggest TV platforms in the country, Sky Sports. This first group of Step on Track participants will be treated to a tour of Sky Sports studios, once safe to do so, to get a real feel of the television world.
A session on the veterinary world from BHA Veterinary Officer, Sally Taylor, saw the vast amount of work that goes on to ensure that every horse is looked after before, during and after each race. The horse welfare session was a key part of the week which the participants enjoyed hearing and learning about as it is often an area that people might not know much about.
The Step on Track participants heard from people all around the world throughout the week, as there were speakers from as far as Australia and USA! Arvin Chadee (currently on the Godolphin Flying Start Programme) and Nathan Horrocks (co-Founder of Equine Productions and Jockey Cam) told their very different stories and how they found their own path in the racing world. They even heard from Paul Brewster, (Programme Leader – Football Business and Finance (BA Hons) Pathway UCFB Wembley) who was a jockey out in Barbados in his early career. The group were really treated to a mix of inspiring and different stories which were greatly enjoyed.
The week was wrapped up with a treat as Sulekha Varma, Clerk of the Course at Aintree Racecourse, took them on a virtual tour of the iconic Racecourse. The group got to see “behind the scenes” while speaking to the ground staff and sales and marketing teams along the way. Getting a real look at the different jobs at the course with the Aintree finishing post in the background. Finally, the last session looked at what horseracing is doing within the Diversity and Inclusion area and what factors the industry are facing with the BHA’s Head of Diversity and Inclusion, Rose Grissell.
Participants of the Step on Track Programme said:
‘The programme helped me understand that it’s way more than just the horses!’ – Janelle
‘I’d like to really say thank you for everything! I feel like my life has changed in a way and the programme has really made me happy.’ – Areeba
We will now work closely with the participants on their next steps, to find out what they want to do and to ensure they have a clear pathway and support along the way. They were also given some Careers in Racing goodies and merchandise including some beanie hats for the winter months ahead.