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Godolphin Stud & Stable Staff Awards 2015

14 October 2015

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'It was satisfying to be nominated, let alone win it'

In the first of our series on the Godolphin Stud & Stable Staff Awards,2015 employee of the year Jessica Fortt explains what the win meant to her.

How important are these awards?

They are a huge incentive for anybody in the industry. Apart from the financial reward, it was greatly satisfying just to be nominated, let alone win. 

What did it mean to you to win the award?

Any nomination from an employer is arguably the best endorsement you are likely to receive. My employer, David Brace OBE, was overjoyed with my award. We have worked closely for a long time and it was fantastic that everybody associated with the stud was also able to benefit financially.

What qualities make goods table/stud staff?

Teamwork is essential. You obviously have to be able to work on your own, but also the ability to listen, delegate and appreciate what everybody else is doing on the yard. Working with horses for me is more than a job, it is a way of life and I look forward to every day. 

What is the most testing part of your job?

There are always setbacks and disappointments with horses,but you have to accept that.When the season starts to get going and you need to cover a mare at a certain time of day,plans away from work go out of the window. I'm married to the CCTV during foaling time,which often makes for very little sleep. 

What do you most enjoy about your work?

As David [Brace] is a successful owner, the biggest thrill is seeing the breeding process through from conception to the racecourse, having been with them through all the stages of their education. Any winner we have is celebrated, but the home bred successes are that bit more special. 

How can life be improved for stud and stable staff?

While I accept not all employers necessarily value their staff as they should do, the graded staff wage guidelines have helped in this respect. For me, the biggest problem we face is simply attracting staff who are qualified and dedicated enough to do the job. Staff tend to get demoralised because their workload increases as there aren't enough bodies around the yard to get the job done properly. I firmly believe that a happy yard where staff are encouraged and asked for their opinions tends to lead to a far better working environment.For teenagers coming into the industry, more relative qualifications could be available to help them in their work and to progress career-wise.

Nominations are now open for owners, trainers, colleagues and managers.Trainers can nominate online via the Racing Administration website. Nominations can also be completed online via britishhorseracing.com/stablestaff and forms may be also be downloaded at this address and via racingpost.com


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