A group of 10 students from Queen Margaret Academy attended a race meeting on Thursday the 6th of October 2011, as the result of a partnership between The Prince’s Trust and the British Horseracing Authority (BHA). They were given exclusive access to the racecourse in order to develop their understanding of the British Racing industry and to learn more about the opportunities that exist for them when they leave school to venture into the world of employment.
Not only did the students enjoy an all-access, behind-the-scenes view of a raceday, but were also granted some rare treats as they got up close and personal with some of Jim Goldie’s equine stars in the Stable Yard, quizzed former champion Jamie Spencer about the life of a jockey over lunch (and autographs), and watched the first race live from the Commentary Box, with Grand National commentator Darren Owen delighting the pupils by mentioning them as “race spotters from Queen Margaret Academy” live on Racing UK.
With around 20% of young people aged 16-24 not in work, education or training in Scotland, youth charity The Prince’s Trust helps disadvantaged young people to overcome the barriers to achieving this and to gain the confidence, skills and motivation needed to find future employment and training opportunities. British Horseracing became involved with the charity through its partnership with sport which works closely with over 100 key partners including Governing Bodies of UK Sport and other Sporting Organisations to deliver sport linked programmes that engage, motivate and develop young people.
The partnership between the BHA and The Prince’s Trust launched in November 2008, providing the Racing Experience Days to The Prince’s Trust xl programme. xl Clubs are run in schools nationwide for pupils in Years 10 and 11 who are at risk of truanting and underachievement.
Chris Brand, Acting Chief Executive of the British Horseracing Authority said:
“Racing directly employs over 20,000 people, with another 70,000 working in related sectors, so it has a big impact on communities up and down the country – no other sport employs so many people across such a wide range of jobs and locations. We, as a sport, want to use this network to help young people and we are grateful to the racecourses and industry employees who have been more than happy to offer their resources to such a worthy cause.”
Tom Keer, Head of Sport at The Prince’s Trust added:
“We are hugely grateful to the BHA for its support through the delivery of the Racing Experience Days. I am pleased to say that since our partnership began we have helped over 100 young people through the sport. And I am delighted to see the partnership go from strength to strength as we look to develop new ways to work together.”
Iain Ferguson, Head of PR at Ayr Racecourse said:
“We were delighted to welcome the Prince’s Trust, BHA and pupils from Queen Margaret Academy to the course for the racing experience day.
“It is particularly fitting that such a high profile local school was involved as we at Ayr pride ourselves on being an integral part of the community. It was also fitting that the students should meet the likes of Jamie Spencer and Jim Goldie at a course which has been attracting Racing’s biggest stars for many many years.”