It’s National Apprenticeship Week this week, and with courses starting all year round, we’re celebrating the flagship Foundation Course.
The Foundation Course is a government funded apprenticeship programme, where students reside at the School for 12-18 weeks, whilst being taught all the tools they need to begin a full-time job in horseracing and the next step towards their Level 2 Diploma in Racehorse Care and Management.
In small classes of around 10-15 people, and open to young people aged between 16-24, the students will learn everything from tacking up and mucking out, to how to present a horse to the vet, how to recognise common injuries and ailments, and how to handle fit racehorses. In addition to this of course, they will be taught to ride in a racing saddle, and taught appropriate techniques to control and work with Thoroughbreds in training. Even if a student has never ridden prior to attending BRS, they will be given the skills and the confidence to begin their full-time employment at the end of the residential stay. The instructors at the School have all had their own careers in racing yards and are now dedicated to passing on their experience to the next generation.
Towards the end of the initial course, students and the staff at the school will discuss their preference in terms of work-placement. Do they want to work in a flat or jump yard? Where do they want to be? Do they want to be close to home or further away? The Workplace Support Manager and the CEO will liaise with appropriate yards and will place the student accordingly. Once they have started their new position, the student will be continually supported by a designated Workplace Instructor, who will guide them through the projects and coursework needed for their Level 2 Diploma qualification.
Whilst at the School, students are allocated shared bedrooms (two people per room) and are provided with three nutritious meals each day. They are supported through fitness training, a key part of the course, and are taught about the wider Thoroughbred industries through their electives sessions. For those students who did not achieve the necessary grades in Maths and English at GCSE level, the team of functional skills tutors will work with them to ensure these qualifications are gained through their time at the School. With nurses onsite each weekday and a dedicated safeguarding team available around the clock, the students are also supported by a team of hostel wardens who are onsite 24 hours per day.
The educational provision of the Foundation Course is funded by the Government, however there is a financial contribution required for the residential aspect, covering the cost of board and food throughout the 12 or 18 weeks a student is resident at BRS. With thanks to a generous supporter, there is a bursary option available for those who may struggle to meet this financial commitment.