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BHA restructures recruitment, training and education strategy

08 July 2013

BRITISH racing's recruitment, training and education sector is set to be restructured and, as a result, it has been proposed the responsibilities of the British Horseracing Education and Standards Trust (BHEST), the sport's principal awarder of training qualifications, be much reduced.

The area has already undergone a change in personnel, with the BHA's head of industry recruitment and training Sara Hay-Jahans and BHEST chairman Rhydian Morgan-Jones leaving their posts last month.

The Levy Board requested it receives a single integrated submission on behalf of British racing for industry recruitment, training and education, which currently comes from a number of sources, including BHEST, the National Stud and Thoroughbred Breeders' Association.

The BHA was asked to lead the process of developing the strategy and submission involving a consultation exercise with key stakeholders.

BHA chief executive Paul Bittar said: "We have agreed the first industry-wide strategy for industry recruitment, training and education after an extensive consultation process. The emphasis throughout has been on moving towards a far more co-ordinated approach and also one that empowers the key training providers that support British racing.

"A number of opportunities and efficiencies have been identified, but more importantly we need to maximise our funding opportunities. Proper investment in this area is a hallmark of a modern industry with effective employment practices.

"The BHA will perform a slightly different function in this area going forwards, one less focused on delivering programmes and more on strategy and oversight, but our overall commitment is being redoubled."

The Levy Board channelled £663,000 of the £1 million it gave to training and education in 2013 through BHEST, but that arrangement is understood to be under review.

BHEST's main roles have been in providing the Racing To School programme, Morgan-Jones's brainchild through which thousands of schoolchildren have experienced racing, as well as acting as an awarding body and funding distributor.

It is understood that during the consultation process concerns were raised about potential conflicts of interest within BHEST, as well as about performance issues, and that in order to receive funding BHEST - and specifically Racing To School - should be integrated with the rest of the sector.

Morgan-Jones's term of office as a BHEST trustee ended last month, after which he gave up his role there.

Hay-Jahans, who joined the BHB in June 2005 following the review into stable and stud staff conducted by Lord Donoughue, was involved in the consultation exercise but subsequently decided to move on.

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