Did you know there is a national shortage of experienced grooms? With many young people choosing to go to college, employers are finding grooms with “hands-on” experience difficult to find. So, if you are thinking about making your career with horses, now is the time to take advantage of The Blacup Training Group’s Horsecare NVQ Programme.

Based in Yorkshire, but with offices in Suffolk, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, Leicestershire and Hampshire, The Blacup Training Group is a training company dedicated to helping young people achieve recognised qualifications in their chosen career.

To qualify for a place on the Modern Apprenticeship programme you must be aged between 16 and 24 and preferably have some previous knowledge and background in horses, although this is not essential.

All training for Modern Apprenticeships is work-based and Blacup have a number of excellent establishments who are looking for trainees, including riding schools, competition and livery yards.

Placements are carefully chosen and monitored by Blacup who see these trainers as partners in producing the top grooms of the future.

The scheme can also help grooms currently in employment gain a qualification without the need to take time off to go to college.

For further information and guidance contact Jonathan Place (tel: 01484 723074). Blacup would also like to hear from establishments who feel they could offer training for Modern Apprenticeship programmes.

Top endurance award for student

Writtle College student Caroline Atkinson, 19, has won the leading rider points championship for the 2002/3 endurance season in Qatar in the Middle East. It is the first time a British rider has ever won this award.

Held between October 2002 and April 2003, the Qatar season consisted of six endurance rides, with distances ranging from 80km to 140km. Riders and their crew had to contend with sand storms, rain and the desert heat.

Caroline, who had moved to Qatar with her family at the age of 12, contested four of the six rides with her Arabian horse, Nawaf GB, finishing in third, fourth, fifth and sixth.

A keen pony club member, she joined Writtle College, Essex, last year to study for a BSc in Equine Studies and left Nawaf GB with her family, as she planned to compete with him one more season before flying him to England.

Caroline and Nawaf are now on the British Young Riders squad and are long-listed to ride in the YR’s world championships in Italy in September.

  • Don’t miss Horse & Hound‘s next NAGS magazine feature, which focuses on finding a job after completing an equine course. Out on Thursday 3 July.