‘It is not ok to operate illegally’: work continues on good equestrian employment

  • Work towards ensuring good employment in the equestrian industry becomes “the norm” is continuing, as a new four-year strategy is set out.

    Last month, the Equestrian Employers Association (EEA) joined forces with the equestrian industry’s major governing bodies to push for good employment practice across the industry, in its annual Good Employment Week (news, 10 November). Following this, the British Grooms Association (BGA) and EEA have launched new strategic plans for 2023-2027.

    The plans set out the organisations’ “mission” to promote, support, educate and lobby, as grooms’ and employers’ representative bodies, on the importance of good employment and career opportunities in the industry. The focus will be on representing grooms in the UK, inspiring future generations and raising the profile of grooms as a rewarding career choice, assisting and educating the equestrian workforce about compliant employment, supporting mental health in the workplace, and advocating that EEA and BGA members adhere to high standards of professionalism and conduct.

    “Stable staff perform a critical role in the success of an equestrian yard and the welfare of the horse. We wish for all grooms to only ever work in professional, caring, viable businesses where the legalities are adhered to, and their wellbeing is paramount,” said BGA and EEA chairman Chris Hewlett.

    “Our revised strategy focuses on helping employers to achieve and maintain the best standards. Our new vision sets the tone of our plans for the future. We will continue to advocate, educate on and support good employment, as we positively believe that this is the only way to sustain the workforce of our industry.”

    EEA founder and BGA executive director Lucy Katan added that the organisations “felt it was time to review their work and reset their focus”.

    “It is simply wrong that we still have employers who think that the law does not apply to them. This is detrimental to the entire sector and is evidenced to have damaged our recruitment and retention of the workforce. We are now being more strategic with the message that it is not OK to operate businesses illegally; only good employment is acceptable and, together, we must strive for this to become the norm, just like it is in any other sector,” she said.

    “Grooms wouldn’t work in a factory that paid below the national minimum wage, ignored all employment rights, and believed that despite the machinery being somewhat dangerous, health and safety didn’t apply in their facility – so why should they work in an equestrian yard that adheres by the same principles?”

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