Q: I am about to start work on a yard as a groom, and have heard about the Equine Skills CV — how will the system work, and will it be of benefit to me?

A: The Equine Skills CV is a scheme being launched in July by the newly formed British Grooms’ Association (BGA). It has been developed by Lantra, the Sector Skills Council. It aims to help grooms gain recognition for their skills, and will also assist employers in the recruitment process.

Executive Director of the BGA, Lucy Katan, is keen to point out that the Equine Skills CV is not a formal qualification in itself, and will complement industry qualifications, rather than replace them.

“I am a big advocate of qualifications, but they don’t necessarily make you a good groom,” she says. “Grooms are responsible for the care and welfare of an estimated 1.35 million horses in Britain alone. However, many yards will not employ grooms if they can’t demonstrate their practical ability to work with horses, which is gained over time.

“The Equine Skills CV monitors career progression via a workbook that lists a groom’s achievements, relevant to four industry levels of competence; foundation, intermediate, advanced and elite. The groom’s employer ticks the boxes once they feel the employee has demonstrated the appropriate skill, and the BGA then issues a recognition document. The industry has demanded this for a long time,” Lucy concludes.

Equine employers are sure to welcome the Equine Skills CV. Traditionally, it has been difficult to gauge an employee’s level of practical experience. Cheshire-based eventer Polly Stockton says she looks forward to finding out more about the new scheme.

“Equine employers want honest, reliable grooms, and a scheme that provides both the yard owner and the groom with a formal framework to log their skills and experience sounds like an excellent idea,” she says.

Lisa Jarvis, Lantra’s Industry Partnership Manager for the equine industry, says: “An employee’s practical ability and experience with horses is vitally important to any equestrian business.

“The difficulty has always been how vocational experience is demonstrated; many experienced stable staff do not necessarily have the formal qualifications to prove their skills. If staff were to possess a record of these skills, they would instantly be more employable.”

Lantra has a comprehensive online version of the Equine Skills CV workbook, the Online Competence Framework (OCF), which will retain data logged by the BGA. The scheme costs £25, payable to the BGA and inclusive of administration, for each level — no personal insurance is provided, although BGA members will get special rates with South Essex Insurance Brokers.

To find out more about the Equine Skills CV, contact:

  • British Grooms’ Association (tel: 0845 331 6039) www.britishgrooms.org.uk
  • Lantra Connect (tel: 0845 707 8007) email:connect@lantra.co.uk

This Q&A was first published in Horse & Hound magazine