The British Horse Society (BHS) has launched the 2022 Career Transition Fund at this year’s National Equine Forum today (3 March) as part of the ‘Workforce sustainability in the equine sector’ session led by BHS CEO, James Hick.

The Society identified, through two surveys to employers and employees in the equine sector, that there was a skills gap in the industry. The new BHS 2022 Career Transition Fund is aimed specifically at those who have completed their BHS Stage 1 or Stage 2 and want to progress to the BHS Stage 3 in Complete Horsemanship.

Candidates can apply for the fund through a simple online form and will receive a voucher valued up to £200 for Stage 2 and £250 for Stage 3 and is to be used towards training, provided by BHS Accredited Professional Coaches or at any BHS Approved Centre. Applications open on 7 March to any candidate who has already completed and passed the previous stage assessment and is a current BHS Gold or BHS Pathways member. The Society hope that this will attract hundreds more qualified coaches and grooms into the equestrian industry.

Over 170 equestrian employers took part in the survey and explained that more than 50% of vacancies for coaches and grooms advertised in the past twelve months went unfilled. These job roles and associated skills are critical to running a successful equestrian business.

The BHS also asked over 160 people working in the equine sector what they look for in an employer. The survey revealed that personal development, employment benefits, flexible working hours and freelance work were key factors. Working for a good employer was rated most important, with a work life balance often being prioritised over higher earnings.

James Hick, The British Horse Society CEO said, “I am delighted to be leading the session about the equine industry workforce as it is such an important topic. Our research has highlighted that there is a shortage of employees with the right skills, and we hope that our new career fund will fill this gap. This comes when our riding schools and livery yards who underpin the equine industry, are already facing challenging times and need skilled employees to support their businesses.

“Over the last two years we have transformed our approach to supporting riding schools and livery yards by providing £1.1 million pounds in grants to help them through the coronavirus pandemic, enabling their businesses to bounce back. In addition, the BHS Approvals Centre scheme has gone from one of setting standards to a far more holistic approach, offering dedicated business support. The new career fund initiative is the next stage in our strategy to support both riding schools, livery yards and those wanting an equine career. It is a direct intervention to materially increase the number of BHS qualified coaches and grooms within our sector.

The BHS Career Pathways offer the opportunity to progress a career with horses and learn practical, real-world skills within a structured platform.

For more information about the BHS Career Pathways visit: BHS Pathways | British Horse Society | British Horse Society. For more information about the BHS 2022 Career Transition Fund contact the education team on 02476 840508.