A new horse care apprenticeship program is available and has been registered with the Kentucky and the United States Departments of Labor. As an ‘Industry Recognized Apprenticeship Program’ coming on the heels of the recent suspension of H-2B visas in the United States, the aim is to help train a domestic workforce and produce well-rounded horsemen ready to excel in any facet of the horse industry.
The apprenticeship is a collaboration between the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce/Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP)’s Equine Talent Pipeline Workforce Initiative, the Bluegrass Community and Technical College (BCTC) Workforce Solutions/North American Racing Academy (NARA), and employers across the industry. The Kentucky Community and Technical College System will also provide assistance through its newly launched apprenticeship support program.
“Adding a nationally recognized apprenticeship for aspiring horsemen and horsewomen to our industry’s workforce recruitment and training toolbox will help immeasurably,” said Remi Bellocq, executive director of the NARA at BCTC. “This program helps us make working with horses more accessible to more potential workers and breaks down many of the barriers to entry which often exist.”
With 2,000 hours required, the Horse Trainer (Horseman) Apprenticeship gives trainees industry-recognized skills needed to successfully begin or continue a career in racing, breeding, showing, and other disciplines. Apprentices will become adept in horse handling, feeding and nutrition, proper grooming and exercise, identification of disease or illness, basic health care and medical treatments, and facility care and maintenance.
“The horse industry has been hungry for a way to bring all the players together to reach, and train, a broader audience of new horseman,” said Laurie Mays, Equine Talent Pipeline Project Manager with KEEP and the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. “Both apprentices and employers can expect great things from this program.”