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Funding boost to address crisis in staffing

03 August 2015

A million pounds will be pumped into British racing over the next three years to fight the growing crisis in stable staff numbers undermining the sport.The Racing Foundation, the body set up to oversee the distribution of racing’s share of the funds from the sale of the Tote, has committed the funding to develop racing’s workforce and improve staff retention.The BHA’s director of people and development, Carole Goldsmith, believes the cash injection will help stem the flow of workers out of the industry. 

The initiative is a response to a report commissioned by the BHA and carried out by Deloitte that identified that low retention rates, stricter immigration policy and pressures on recruiting young people into the industry could have serious implications for the sport, for which it is planned to have an extra 1,000 horses in training by 2020.Estimates of the shortfall in staff levels have been conserve actively set at 500, while some believe it could be double that number. British racing has a budget for staff recruitment of just £43,000. 

The extent of the crisis was highlighted in a Racing Post special report last month in which top trainers confessed they were struggling to recruit staff.In response to the new cash pledge, Goldsmith said: “The BHA recognises there are growing pressures on the supply for labour within racing. Although the recruitment of new staff to the industry is an important factor in ensuring an adequate supply, we also have to get better at retaining people.“The funding agreed by the Racing Foundation will help us to make the racing industry a more attractive place to work and should help reduce the number of people leaving the industry.“This is not about a quick fix,but rather the industry coming together to develop and implement a strategy for long-term,sustainable improvement and the Racing Foundation funding provides a platform for this.” 

The foundation and BHA have come together to form a programme to develop and increase retention in British racing’s workforce, which will include improved careers marketing, careers advice and training, a personal development plan for jockeys and access to learning and training opportunities for stud and stable staff.Foundation chairman Roger Weatherby said: “It’s important that a coordinated programme of activities exists to support the personal development and career progression of those who work in the industry. 

This will help ensure a career in racing is attractive to both new recruits and the existing workforce.”National Trainers Federation chief executive Rupert Arnold said: “The NTF has worked closely with the BHA in the development of this programme and it should make a positive long-term impact on industry recruitment and retention.“We are therefore supportive of the initiative, in which we are committed to playing an active role, and welcome the Racing Foundation’s funding.”The foundation has been able to expand its grant-making since Betfred’s early payment of the Tote sale proceeds in 2014.Since inception in 2012, the Racing Foundation has now granted £ 3m to charities associated with the horse racing and thoroughbred breeding industry in Britain.

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