How to get a job and an education in horses or animals – even in the Covid19 pandemic

Girl working with horses

We’re currently existing in one of the strangest periods the world has experienced for years. AS I write the news is announcing job cuts left, right and centre as businesses struggle to cope with the economic realities of a lockdown. All of this at a time when graduates are flooding out of universities and year 11 and 13 leave school, aiming for careers and jobs.

Yet all is not doom and gloom in the job market. There is still an area where you can get the job of your dreams, earn money and gain a qualification. So, now could be the ideal time to consider an apprenticeship in equine or animal care.

Horses and animals don’t stop depending on humans during a crisis that they have no awareness of. They still need feeding, cleaning and exercising and all the other ancillary tasks that accompany their health and welfare. Animal roles are considered as essential so those working in the industry can still go to their place of work.

Consequently, equestrian yards and animal-based businesses are actively seeking apprentices. They are looking for key people who are hands on but keen to learn and progress. Could that be you?

What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a real job that allows you to get paid and learn at the same time. The beauty of modern apprenticeships is that you are assessed in the workplace so don’t have to take time off to go to a college. It feels like a real job because it is!

How do apprenticeships work?

Your employer will support you in the workplace and will provide on the job training. There are no classes to attend, as you learn as you are working.

For example, let’s imagine you are working in a competition yard and one of the horses pulls up lame. Your employer will call the vet and invite you to watch and ask questions during the vet visit on the lameness. You will also be given the opportunity to hold the horse for the vet, and then be part of the follow up car of the horse. If you have never had experience in this area before, your employer will give you advise and keep an eye on you to ensure you are doing it correctly, while answering any questions you have.

You also have the support of your assessor/coach, who will visit you regularly (usually about once a month) in your workplace to track your progress. Depending on where you live in the UK (for example, Wales) your assessor will ask you to gather evidence of your competence (your ability to do the job at a required level) and will then assess the evidence, such as discussions, observations and photos, to see if you are meeting the standards. In England your ability to do the job is assessed through End Point Assessment instead.

Advantages of an apprenticeship

You’re passionate about horses and animals – right? What could be better than spending your days working in the industry you love, earning a wage AND getting a qualification to boot!

Turn it on its head and think about college. College provides you with an excellent education and some great times, but you come out of it usually with a debt and then have to go and get some work experience.

Not so with apprenticeships! You finish your course with your wages in the bank, a year or more of work experience, great practical skills, and you have shown you can do the job to a high standard.

Apprenticeships offer progression to higher levels, and they provide you with a CV that can take you to your next fab job. And, of course, no overdraft…..

Final word

Now those of you who have read my blogs before know I am passionate about education, particularly when it comes to horses. Learning is one of the best things ever! An apprenticeship couples this with experience and creates well rounded individuals ready to work anywhere. Surely it doesn’t get better than that?

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