Q: I work as a groom and riding instructor. However, the environment in which I currently work is not allowing me to progress as I would like.
I have been accepted on a one-year training programme to allow me to get intensive training on a daily basis with the view of working up through the British Horse Society (BHS) exams. I currently have my BHS Stage Three.
But to take advantage of this fantastic opportunity, I need to find a way of funding it, as there is no wage as such involved. Are there any funds set up to help people through their BHS training or is there any way to get sponsorship?
ACCORDING to Linda Haworth, senior executive of BHS Examinations, qualifications up to and including the intermediate instructor certificate are accredited by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority for inclusion on the National Qualifications Framework.
“Although this does not guarantee funding, it may make it more accessible,” she says.
Margaret Linington-Payne, BHS director of standards, says the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) may be able to assist.
“If the riding establishment or college providing your training isn’t already drawing funds, they may wish to contact their regional LSC and apply for funding to assist with their training provision,” she says.
“Funding from the LSC is distributed on a regional basis, but most of it at the moment is geared towards level two entitlement (L2E), the level of achievement roughly equivalent to five GCSEs,” she explains.
“Furthermore, funding is only available to the training provider, who should demonstrate that they have an ongoing and sustainable programme in place for their students — speak to your training provider about this possibility.
“Some BHS county committees offer training bursaries to students, so in this case you should contact your local BHS in Derbyshire. The BHS at Stoneleigh also has some small awards available to help with training and exams — contact them for further information.”
Margaret says local charities may have funds that can be tapped into, if you fit into a certain criteria — try your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB) or even contact the local press. Alternatively, Job Centre Plus offices run various training and employment initiatives, but whether you will be eligible for funding will depend on your region and circumstances.
If your training programme is held at a satellite centre for a college, you may be able to get some funding from the college itself — contact the administration department for further information. It is also worth contacting your local authority, perhaps via the CAB for further advice.
BHS Tel: 08701 202244 www.bhs.org.uk
Job Centre Plus www.jobcentreplus.gov.uk
This Q&A was first published in Horse & Hound (21 June, ’07)