Training for farriers is to have a shake up, as the National Farriers Training Agency (NFTA) has been shut down in the wake of a poor Ofsted report and rumours of bullying.
Earlier this year H&H reported that the government had cut funding for farriery apprenticeships after the “inadequate” Ofsted report (news, 23 May).
It has now emerged that the NFTA will no longer be running training.
Colleges will now take over training new farriers, with funding coming directly from the Skills Funding Agency.
“Much must now be done to bring the new training system into action so that apprentices are provided with a safe learning environment and enjoyable training system,” read a joint statement from the Worshipful Company of Farriers, British Farriers and Blacksmiths Association and Farriers Registration Council.
“The colleges that already run farriery courses will continue to do so, this just cuts out the middle man,” explained Clifford Barnes of the BFBA.
He added that the Skills Funding Agency thought the NFTA were being “reactive to the report rather than proactive towards a solution” and there was “talk of underlying bullying in the workplace”.
“But though it was given a horrendous Ofsted report, apprenticeship completion rate is 95%,” he added.
Apprenticeships will combine college study and work experience, but colleges will oversee it. The Farriers Registration Council will monitor the delivery of training.
“A lot of work was being done before the report, but this has given it the push. We knew there were issues that needed addressing,” added Mr Barnes.
Farrier and H&H blogger Roland Thompson said it was a “very positive move”.
“The NFTA is an admin body and does not set the very high standards you have to meet to become a farrier,” he said. “Bringing ‘training admin’ under the umbrella of the colleges is a sensible move.”
This news story was first published in Horse & Hound magazine (18 July 2013)