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Equine Apprenticeships: Course Options – Grooms of the Future Part 2

Equine Apprenticeships:
Course Options

Anyone who keeps up to date our blogs and articles or follows our various social media posts will know, here at The Grooms list by Caroline Carter Recruitment, we believe that equine apprenticeships are a GOOD thing for employers, grooms and the industry. Taking on a trainee really is worth the time and effort investment.

We established in our recent article A basic guide to employing an apprentice groom, part 1. that equine apprenticeships really aren’t as complex as they might at first appear.

Here in part 2 we move on from that and explore the equine apprenticeship course options available for employers to offer and grooms to choose from, to help lay out the various choices on offer on the road to gaining formal equine qualifications.

I hope it helps 🙂



Choose an equine apprenticeship course – the options

by Kelly Wallace Horne

There really isn’t a simple way to present all the options available to equine grooms and employers who are interested in equine apprenticeships, but I wanted to offer an overview at the very least. Even so, this is still a rather long article with a lot of information, all of which may not be of interest to everyone, so to help you out we’ve added some shortcuts that enable you to jump straight to the information that is relevant to you. First things first, are you eligible for an apprenticeship?


How do equine apprenticeships work?

  • Equine Apprenticeships - Course Options - Am I Eligible“Apprentice” is an employment status, not a student status, therefore you earn a salary whilst you train for and gain your formal qualification.
  • Apprenticeships are official, structured training programmes and are supported by a college or training provider.
  • Apprentices must be paid at least the National Minimum Wage for Apprentices, which in the year 1st April 2018 – 31st March 2019 is £3.70 an hour. However, conditions apply to this – the National Minimum Wage for Apprentices doesn’t apply to Apprentices aged 19yrs or more in their second year of an Apprenticeship. Apprentices aged 19yrs or more in their second year must receive the age-related National Minimum Wage not the National Minimum Wage for Apprentices. As soon as a second-year Apprentice turns 19 years old they must be paid the age-related National Minimum Wage instead.
  • The apprentice will attend college, probably one day a week, and this will be part of their paid working week (yes, apprentices must also be paid for the hours they attend college!)
  • Apprentices work under the Working Time Directive which means:
    • If you are aged between 16-17, the maximum weekly hours you can work is 40 hours. You can only work a 5 day a week and you must receive two consecutive days off.
    • If you are aged over 18 years old, the maximum you can work is 40 hours. You do not need to have two consecutive days off.
  • The employer must give the apprentice groom the opportunity to learn and complete the tasks necessary to gain the associated qualification.
  • Equine apprenticeship courses usually take between 12 and 18 months to complete.
  • Equine apprenticeships are proper job roles and count towards both your education and employment history on your CV.
  • Equine apprenticeships can help grooms maintain job longevity on their equine CV by discouraging grooms from job hopping every few months as they try to gain a lot of experience in too little time.


Am I eligible to provide or apply for equine apprenticeships?

Employers can find out more about employing an apprentice groom here.

Job seekers have to meet the following criteria in order to apply for a Government funded apprenticeship course:

  • The applicant can be of any age.
  • The applicant must have been a resident of the EU for a minimum of 3 years.
  • The applicant must not be in full-time education (including college, university or completing another apprenticeship course).
  • The applicant must ensure they are not overqualified for the course they are applying for. Speak to your college or training provider to find out the details specific to your circumstances.
  • Grooms already in employment can complete an apprenticeship course with their current yard, subject to their employer’s agreement – speak with your employer about the possibility of training for and gaining a formal qualification within your current yard. Your employer can find out more about the process here.

Would-be apprentices who don’t qualify for a Government funded apprenticeship course can still gain qualifications via the apprentice route, but the course fees will need to be funded by the job seeker or the employer. Speak to a college or training provider to find out more about this.


Article continues below…

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Getting into working with horses

Traineeships for inexperienced horse enthusiasts

Not everyone has the opportunity to learn to ride or look after horses in their leisure time but that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t make a cracking groom with correct training. However, it stands to reason that no employer is going to let a complete novice loose on their yard and horses. This is where Government funded Traineeships come in.

Equine Apprenticeships - Course Options - Traineeships for complete beginners

It’s a little bit like a “try before you buy” scenario for both the learner and the employer, giving young people the opportunity to test the water and employers reassurance that the learner is likely to be capable of the equine apprenticeship course.

That said, it is not an opportunity for curious animal lovers to “have a go” at working with horses – it is an opportunity for young people who are passionate about horses to prepare for a career in the equine industry.

If you have applied for an Equine Apprenticeship and been turned down for having insufficient skills and experience for the role, a Traineeship could help you achieve your equine career goals. The Traineeship will last anything between 8 and 20 weeks, depending on your individual circumstances and your Traineeship period does count towards your work experience on your CV, so be sure to add it.


Do learners on a Traineeship get paid?

By law, employers are not required to pay learners for taking part in a traineeship but may support the learner with expenses such as accommodation, transport and/or meals. Depending on the circumstances, learners may be able to access financial support from their training provider. If the learner is receiving welfare benefits the Jobcentre may be able to offer financial support.


To apply for a Traineeship the learner must:

Equine Apprenticeships - Course Options - Get into work with horses via a Traineeship


  • Be 16-24 years old
  • Unemployed or working less than 16 hours a week
  • Have not gained a full Level 3 qualification
  • Be ready and available to start employment/and Apprenticeship within 6 months


A traineeship is probably not right for you if:

  • You already have the skills and experience needed to find an apprenticeship or work with horses
  • You are 25 years old or older
  • You are already employed


Finding a suitable Traineeship

There are various ways to find official Traineeships:

  • Search Traineeships on the Government website here
  • Contact contact Educ8 Equine by clicking here to find out about any opportunities suitable for you
  • If you are currently receiving welfare benefits you can speak to your local Job Centre about Traineeship opportunities

Jobseekers can find out more about Traineeships here, including how to work out if you are eligible for a Traineeship. Employers can find out more about Traineeships here.




Equine Apprenticeships in Horse Care


Apprenticeships for Grooms who want to ride


Level 2 – Equestrian Apprenticeship Standard Equine Groom Horse Care

Level 3 – Equestrian Apprenticeship Standard Senior Equine Groom


Equine Apprenticeships - Course Options - Riding ApprenticesYou can complete a Level 2 or 3 Equine Apprenticeship course in any discipline or yard types and you will learn the following:

  • Safe working practices
  • Yard and Field Routines and Duties
  • Horse Anatomy, Physiology and Welfare
  • Horse Handling, Care and Appearance
  • Saddlery and Equipment
  • Travelling Horses
  • Equine Non-ridden exercise


The riding element of this equine apprenticeship course includes:

  • Learning the fundamental importance of adopting a correct riding position
  • Different riding styles appropriate to different disciplines and situations
  • School rules and regulations
  • Riding terminology including paces/ aids/ school figures
  • How to ride in the open with consideration for weather, hazards and varied terrain
  • The use of pole work to include distances of trot poles and basic principles of jumping The Highway and Country Code and safe protocol for riding on the road and public places
  • The importance of riding according to instruction
  • An awareness of customer needs and how this can influence customer care


Equine Apprenticeships for Grooms who DON’T want to ride


Level 2 – Equestrian Apprenticeship Standard Equine Groom 

Level 3 – Equestrian Apprenticeship Standard Senior Equine Groom


Equine Apprenticeships - Course Options - Non Riding ApprenticesThe non-riding equine career pathway is more business focussed, with the riding element of the course replaced with the appropriate training required to run a successful equine business. However, you will still learn the horse care element:

  • Working safely
  • Carrying out yard and stable duties
  • Learning about horse anatomy and how to keep them healthy
  • Safe handling and grooming
  • Clothing and saddle care
  • Safe transportation of horses
  • Non-ridden Exercise


For non-riding learners, the riding element of this equine apprenticeship course is replaced with more managerial/business related skills:

  • The importance of stock rotation and maintenance and storage of supplies and equipment
  • What is involved in maintaining an establishment and how this can be organised
  • An awareness of customer needs and how this can influence customer care
  • Appropriate office duties including answering the telephone, processing information and basic IT system and skills used in the workplace
  • The benefits and practice of lungeing and the equipment involved




Occupational Routes

You may wish to specialise in specific sectors within the equine industry…


The Stud Industry

Horse Breeding Apprenticeships

Equine Apprenticeships - Course Options - Breeding ApprenticeshipsYour specialised training will include the following and more:

  • Principles of equine reproduction to include the initial mating decisions, the importance of teasing, monitoring pregnancy and weaning
  • Specific principles of care and welfare including health related to maintaining breeding equines and offspring
  • Methods, equipment and technology currently used to breed and register equines
  • The basics of preparing equines for commercial or private sale
  • The main diseases relating to breeding equines and the relevant industry Codes of Practice
  • Problems that may happen with covering stallions, foaling mares and youngstock throughout their early years

You can find out more about a career as a Stud Hand or Groom here.




The Horse Racing Industry

Horse Racing Apprenticeships

Equine Apprenticeships - Course Options - Horse Racing ApprenticesYour specialised training will include the following and more:

  • The care of the thoroughbred racehorse as a high-performance equine athlete and the specific exercise regimes used in the racing industry to prepare and train horses to race
  • The specific routines for working in a racing yard and taking horses racing including how to care for horses prior to and after strenuous work and racecourse performance
  • The regulatory requirements for adhering to industry policy and practice, including security procedures in the yard, at the races and at public sales venues
  • Technical racing terms and vocabulary, the racing industry structure and key organisations
  • The industry protocol for taking a horse racing and how to lead up a Thoroughbred racehorse at the races




The Carriage Driving Industry

Carriage Driving Apprenticeships

Equine Apprenticeships - Course Options - Carriage Driving ApprenticesYour specialised training will include the following and more:

  • All parts of a single set of harness
  • The correct single harness to use with two and four wheeled vehicles with independent shafts
  • Correct fit of single harness to two and four wheeled vehicles
  • The procedures for harnessing up and putting to with an assistant and safe areas to do so
  • The basic principles of cleaning leather and composite leather harness
  • Cleaning of wooden and metal vehicles, safe storage of two and four wheeled vehicles
  • The core principles of long reining for exercise and the equipment used




Specialise in Equine Sports

Equine Apprenticeships - Course Options - Sporting Excellence Study ProgrammeSporting Excellence Study Programme

You can specialise in performance horses in many of the competitive disciplines not mentioned above, for example, Dressage, Show Jumping or Eventing. The Sporting Excellence Study Programme used to be known as the AASE (Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence) and is a training programme that is managed and run in conjunction with the official UK bodies for each discipline, e.g. British Dressage, the BSJA, British Evening etc. As you can imagine, the course focusses on grooms becoming specialised in top-level competition in their chosen discipline. You can read more about a career as a competition groom here.




Futher information on equine apprenticeship courses

To speak to someone about your specific questions you can contact Educ8 Equine by clicking here, who will be more than happy to answer your questions and help you find the right pathway in equine apprenticeships.

If you would like assistance and/or advice regarding finding apprentice vacancies or employing apprentices in the equine industry please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Search for apprentice vacancies on The Grooms list via this link.

Advertise your apprentice groom vacancy on The Grooms List via this link.

Search The Grooms List for an apprentice groom via this link.

For more information on employing an apprentice groom please click here.

Find more information and advice on recruitment in the equine industry via this link.

Get FREE equine recruitment advice

Both employers and jobseekers alike, if you would like free, friendly, no obligation recruitment advice from Caroline please do get in touch!

The content provided in this article is for informational purposes only. It is the responsibility of the individual to ensure that the information they are working to is correct and appropriate for their specific circumstances.

© Caroline Carter Recruitment Ltd and The Grooms List, 2018. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Caroline Carter Recruitment Ltd and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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© Caroline Carter Recruitment Ltd and The Grooms List, 2018. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Caroline Carter Recruitment Ltd and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Caroline Carter Recruitment Ltd
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Fildyke Road
SG17 5LU
0203 006 5730 / 07747 686 118

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