• Short survey will provide robust data against which to measure progress of initiatives
• Project being funded via £1m Racing Foundation grant which is being invested in staff recruitment and retention
• Trainers and stable staff will be contacted directly to be asked to participate
The Racing industry is appealing to trainers and stable staff to participate in a short survey focusing on recruitment, career progression and retention of those working in racing. Their input will play a crucial part in establishing a baseline of facts for use in shaping a major initiative to support the development of racing’s workforce and encouraging greater retention of staff.
The initiative, funded by a significant investment from the Racing Foundation of £1million over three years, is being delivered in partnership with the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), National Trainers Federation (NTF), National Association of Stable Staff (NASS) and racing charities.
Under this initiative, a number of programmes are already underway aimed specifically at improving personal and professional development opportunities for racing’s workforce. These include an industry-wide Careers Advice and Training Service, a Personal Development Programme for Jockeys and a range of regional training activities for stud and stable staff.
However, thus far, feedback on the extent and reasons for recruitment and retention issues has tended to be anecdotal. This survey will help to establish a baseline of facts around the key issues, against which progress can be measured.
To assist, the industry is appealing to trainers and stable staff to participate in a survey that will run throughout September and October. The survey will take no more than 10 minutes and will be conducted over the phone with trainers, and by post with stable staff.
To monitor and evaluate the effectiveness and impact of the initiative and its programmes, the Racing Foundation has commissioned independent research organisation Public Perspectives Ltd, with the ultimate aim of assessing format, sustainability and future funding.
Trainers and stable staff will be contacted by Public Perspectives over the next two months. It is very much hoped there will be a good response rate to show how industry stakeholders are working together to pro-actively address recruitment, skills and retention issues.
Rupert Arnold, Chief Executive of the NTF, said:
“As racing puts in place a broad long term strategy for developing a skilled workforce for trainers, the NTF hugely appreciates the support of the Racing Foundation, which is funding many projects. We ask trainers to devote some time to the evaluation survey as their feedback is vital to shape the success of the strategy.”
George McGrath, Chief Executive of NASS, said:
“My members are well aware of the issues that they face yet we as a workforce have never actually completed a survey to evidence this so we welcome this opportunity. Hopefully this will lead to better retention and recruitment within the industry and I would encourage the racing staff to take part in this survey. Without your support the survey will be less effective and the impact of the Racing Foundation’s support of racing staff will be reduced”
Rob Hezel, Chief Executive of the Racing Foundation, said:
“It is heartening to see industry bodies coming together to encourage participation in this survey. We are grateful to the support of both NASS and the NTF in encouraging their members to take part in the survey which will allow us to measure the true impact of our work on recruitment and retention and help to better inform future policy and funding decisions”.
Carole Goldsmith, Director of People and Development at the BHA, said:
“It is essential that the industry builds on the momentum we have developed in terms of focusing on, and investing in, the recruitment and retention of our sport’s workforce. So much good work is already under way, but what is important now is that we measure just how much of a difference these initiatives are making. This survey will help us to build a clearer picture of the progress being made and the challenges we continue to face. I would urge everyone to take part, for the benefit of all within the sport.”
Notes to Editors
1. The Racing Foundation was established in January 2012 to oversee the distribution of funds to charitable causes within racing following the sale of the Tote. The British Horseracing Authority, the Horsemen’s Group and Racecourse Association are the three joint Members of the charity, which is registered with the Charity Commission as a charity under the law of England and Wales (no. 1145297)
2. The Trustees of the Racing Foundation are Sir Ian Good (Chairman), Ian Barlow, Jane Keir, Kirsten Rausing and William Rucker. Since inception, the Racing Foundation has granted just over £4.7million and pledged a further £2.1million to charities associated with the horseracing and Thoroughbred breeding industry in the UK, supporting work in social welfare, education, training and participation, horse welfare, equine science research, and heritage and culture.
3. As part of its 2015-2018 strategy, the Foundation is working with relevant authorities, stakeholders and racing charities to develop and fund three initiatives that aim to make significant progress in:
• Creating personal development opportunities for racing’s people.
• Enhancing injury rehabilitation services for racing’s people.
• Developing a co-ordinated approach towards equine welfare provision.
4. The Racing Foundation announced its £1million commitment to improving the professional and personal development of racing’s workforce and addressing recruitment/retention issues in August 2015. The initiative responded to issues raised in the 2014 Training Yard Workforce Analysis report, which was commissioned by the BHA and produced by Deloitte. The report identified that low retention rates within the racing industry, combined with stricter immigration policy and pressures on recruiting young people into the industry, could have serious implications for the supply of racing’s workforce.
The Racing Foundation has since been working with the BHA, NTF, NASS and racing charities to investigate how supporting the personal development of racing’s workforce can help attract and retain staff within the industry. The resulting programme of activities aims to achieve the following key objectives:
• More members of the workforce undertaking continuous professional development.
• Higher incidence of career development among the workforce.
• Improved rates of workforce retention within the racing industry (especially among skilled and qualified staff).
The programme comprises four key activities:
• Enhanced Careers Marketing.
• Developing a Careers Advice and Training Service (CATS).
• Delivering a Personal Development Programme for Jockeys.
• Providing regional Accessible Learning and Training for stud and stable staff.
5. Public Perspectives Ltd, based at the University of Hertfordshire, is an independent research organisation that specialises in research, evaluation, consultation and strategy development for the public and charitable sectors. It also has substantial experience of conducting evaluations for charities, charitable trusts and working within the horseracing industry. The evaluation of the personal development programmes is being overseen by Mark Yeadon, Director of Research and Engagement, who has 15 years of research and evaluation experience. He is a member of the Market Research Society and a former Director of the Social Research Association. Mark has also worked for two Local Authorities, for the National Audit Office and is a Director of the Cripplegate Foundation – a grant giving charity in Islington.