Fast Track graduates at Magic Millions (Image: Sharon Chapman)
Applications for the 2024 intake of Thoroughbred Breeders Australia (TBA) flagship training program, Fast Track, open Wednesday 7th February.
Developed in response to industry staffing shortages, the 12-month course is designed to target people from outside breeding and racing and introduce them to Australia’s vibrant thoroughbred sector, providing them with the foundational skills and knowledge needed to build successful careers.
Now in its seventh year, the program has proved a successful pathway with close to 90% of trainees continuing to work in the industry after completing the course.
“Fast Track offers anyone with a passion for horses the opportunity to begin a career with thoroughbreds, regardless of their background or level of hands-on experience,” says TBA chief executive Tom Reilly.
“Walking around the Magic Millions sales a few weeks ago it was great to see so many of our past trainees working for farms, a number of who had no horse experience before starting on the program, and who may not have found their way into the industry otherwise.”
Among the diverse graduates so far are an electrician, beauty therapist, army veteran, cafe barista and a cricket coach, all of whom were looking for a career change.
Successful applicants commence a full-time paid traineeship with a stud farm while studying for a Certificate III in Horse Breeding – a nationally recognised formal qualification.
To complement the on-the-job learning, students attend two intensive learning blocks in Scone (six weeks in total), where they receive a mix of practical training and classroom theory, as well as take part in a variety of field trips and personal development workshops.
The 2023 intake was the largest ever with 18 trainees enjoying placements in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania.
TBA’s education and projects manager Madison Tims is eager to see the program continue to grow and is calling for anyone interested in taking on a trainee this year to get in touch.
“It was really exciting to have our first ever trainees based in Western Australia and Tasmania last year and we are very keen to keep expanding the numbers on the course and have more farms involved in mentoring people,” she says.
Employers around the country have embraced the program.
“The experience of taking on a trainee has been both rewarding and beneficial to our entire team; not only are we being a part of helping our trainees to learn and grow, but we are encouraging young people into our industry,” says Bhima Thoroughbreds’ Kate Fleming.
“Without programs like Fast Track; finding, training and bringing young staff into the industry would be much more difficult. It's a great way for both the young people to get a taste of the industry and for farms to gain new employees.
“I’d absolutely encourage farms to get involved in the program. It’s a great way to gain fresh new staff with the added bonus of knowing you are helping to grow and strengthen our industry,” she adds.
Fast Track is open to anyone in Australia who is 18 years and over.
Applications close March 11th and you can head to https://www.tbaus.com/fast-track-program/about-the-fast-track-program/ or email email@example.com to find out more information.