Not long now until I’m back at Morton Morrell College for the all-important end of second year exams. This does not actually mark my half way point (it’s a four-year apprenticeship which I started in January) but managing the timetabling to ensure all eight farrier apprentice groups receive their allocated six weeks at college must be a bit of a nightmare.

From a college lecturer’s point of view that’s 48 weeks of first, second, third or fourth year apprentices to teach, inspire, tolerate and mentor. On my last college visit I asked a lecturer which group he preferred. Without any hesitation he said: “The first block of the first year and the last block of the last year. The new boys are a pleasure to teach, as are those about to take their final exams. The rest of the groups have more of a fluid level of concentration!”

Logistically, managing all the course work, timetabling, progress tracking and teaching must be pretty difficult. On top of that, three of the eight apprentice groups need horses to shoe, so there’s also a six-week cycle of horses to be organised and booked for shoeing. Most of the horses belong to the college and are used primarily by the equine studies students, who are meant to check with the shoeing rota before they decide to ride one or turn one out. Hmm, well the system kind of works!

There are two full-time lecturers and four part-time staff. The part-time staff are practicing farriers, but give up a day a week to teach the next generation. I’ve spoken before about the passion and dedication the teaching staff have in bringing us newbies on, and personally I can see why being a part time farrier teacher would appeal.

Perhaps one day I might get the chance to teach part-time and put back into the system what I have got out. I think I would get an enormous sense of satisfaction from that. It would also give my back a day off a week too!

Until next week

Roland

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