When it comes to funding qualifications such as an NVQ level 2 or 3, many people are aware of the Government support available, but KEITS are also keen to persuade senior managers to take up the opportunity of developing their business management skills by completing an NVQ Levels 4 and 5.

Jacqui Pritchard, who among other responsibilities is a KEITS assessor and yard owner and has an NVQ level 5 in Business Management explains the ethos behind the initiative. “Encouraging young people to take up apprenticeships is one thing but we feel it’s important to engage the employer as well. While they will want their workforce to be well qualified it is still useful for the employer to go through the process, cementing their skills in the process, as they can then see things from the employees point of view.”

There is no age limit for taking up a KEITS-sponsored NVQ in Business Management and people currently taking them come from all over the land-based industries. Aside from the equestrian business, which has attracted yard owners and head girls, floristry businesses, vets, animal care operations and agricultural concerns are all seeing the value of these qualifications.

“Taking an NVQ level 4 or 5 has a slightly different approach to the lower levels. It’s not about training a person up in a particular skill but more about fine-tuning the expertise they already have and demonstrating competence in them.

“In the majority of cases, the people concerned are highly experienced business men and women,” explains Jacqui. “I wouldn’t dream of telling them how to run their business but I can assess where they could perhaps improve performance in some areas. We then get together to discuss ideas.”

A major bonus factor of the KEITS scheme is that they run what they call a “paperless portfolio”. They recognise that “the last thing anyone who works on a yard all day will want to do is lots of homework”. The “homework” is rather done by the assessor who will collate evidence during five or six visits which normally take between 1 and 1½ hours. “The better equipped and keener the person is to complete the qualification, the quicker it can be done,” adds Jacqui.

Everyone who has completed the programme for an NVQ Level 4 or 5 has qualified. So popular is the scheme that there is a waiting list for people to join. “But,” says Jacqui, “we’re galloping to get through it.”

Wages in the horse industry – even for those who are self employed – can sometimes be a hurdle as taking these qualifications is an expensive business. But with support from KEITS, people are able to access funds set aside by the Government for this very purpose. “So it’s cost effect and adds another string to your bow,” says Jacqui.

Final note: For people in Kent over the age of 24, Government funding can be accessed but there is a registration fee of £150. For more information about this, contact KEITS (www.keits.co.uk)

How it works

There are funding opportunities for:
Apprenticeships and Advanced Apprenticeships (16-24 year olds) in Horse Care, Animal Care and Floristry. Advanced apprenticeships are also available for Business Management.

Assessor Awards
First Aid Qualifications
NVQ Levels 2 and 3 in Horse Care, Animal Care and Floristry
NVQ Levels 3, 4 and 5 in Business Management
BHS Stage 3 and PTT upward

Please note, some location restrictions & eligibility criteria may apply, for further information contact KEITS (www.keits.co.uk)

For funded work based programmes, benefits include:

  • Learning & assessment in the workplace
  • No lost days attending college
  • No course fees or examination fees
  • Free first aid training for all apprentices on programme
  • Achievement bonuses for apprentices and their employers
  • Support from highly qualified and vocationally experienced staff
  • Recognition between BHS & NVQ systems for Horse Care

KEITS also offer training courses in the following:
First Aid Training, Health & Safety Training, Manual Handling and Risk Assessment.

These courses are held regularly in Kent, Hertfordshire & Leicestershire; but can also be organised at your workplace or a venue near by.

KEITS aspire to be an equal opportunities employer and encourages applications from individuals from under-represented minority group.

For further information on funding or any of the courses, contact KEITS on (tel: 01923 854586), www.keits.co.uk or e-mail: info@keits.co.uk

Join Horse & Hounds NAGS

Membership of the National Association of Grooms and Students (NAGS) is free to all bona fide grooms and students.

Benefits of being a NAGS member include: Horse & Hound subscription at £1 per copy, £3 discount voucher on a sack of Blue Chip Dynamic, 10% discount on Splash Equestrian equipment and clothing, no P&P charges from Equestrian Vision mail order and eligibility for NAGS-only competitions and offers.

If you are interested in becoming a member, write to: NAGS, Room 2018, Kings Reach Tower, Stamford Street, London SE1 9LS (tel: 020 7261 6993) or e-mail: nags@ipcmedia.com.

And remember, the club is open to all students, not just those studying for an equine qualification.