New Year, New Career!
Traditionally, New Year is THE key time to commit to making positive changes in your life. Your New Years Resolution might be to get a better-paid job, achieve a better work-life balance, acquire new skills, or generally get more job satisfaction. Looking at the New Year ahead, a blank canvas ready for you to make those changes, what can you do to achieve those career goals? Here are some key points for your consideration:
1. Get your CV in order!
Yes, you! You may have always got new jobs without one, but if you really want to aim for your dream job you need to demonstrate why you should get it! This is why having an up-to-date CV is so important. You need to be able to show potential employers your career pathway to date:
- When you started and finished
- Who you worked for
- Your job title
- What you did/your responsibilities
- Why you left
You may have gaps in your equine CV, it may not always be perfect but, trust us, a documented career pathway is always much better than no evidence at all!
If you don’t have a CV already, please do use our CV template – it is so easy to use you can have a CV set up with all of the above info in a matter of minutes! Don’t leave anything out, even voluntary and non-equine jobs! Before you start, have a read of our guide to writing an equine CV, which will explain everything! If all else fails…talk to us!
2. Decide where you want to be
This can be both career-wise and location-wise.
Many young horse-lovers venture into a career in the equine industry by taking a local job that’s available to them. Whilst there is nothing wrong in taking this route, it may not lead to you achieving your equine career dreams. Because something isn’t immediately/easily available to you doesn’t mean that it isn’t available to you at all.
Ask yourself, can you take a live-in job a little further afield? A job that is too far to commute to every day may not be too far to come home from for time off. Expanding the location of your job search can open up all manner of new avenues for you, in both your career and personal life. Your dream job may not be within a commutable distance from home – but it may be just a little way outside of your home area. If all else fails…talk to us!
3. Identify holes in your skillset
Have a look at job roles that you would love to aspire to and consider the requirements detailed in the job adverts. Chances are, most of those are perfectly attainable with a little determination. Speak to your current employer about opportunities that could help you fill gaps in your skillset like:
- Learning to plait/improving your plaiting skills. You’d be surprised at how quickly you will improve just by spending 30 mins practising a couple of evenings a week!
- General show turnout skills. Do you have a friend or work colleague that would give you advice on tips and tricks to achieving excellent results. Most people are delighted when you express interest in what they do and you could even learn a lot from simply watching them (but not during work-time when you’re meant to be doing something else! 😉) There is also a lot of information online that can be very helpful.
- Competition grooming. Grooming at shows goes beyond repairing plaits and tacking up/untacking, you also need to be in the right place at the right time to support and assist the rider/s. Even just experiencing a few days at shows will help you to understand the rider’s requirements from their competition grooms. You can learn more about competition grooming in our article here.
- First Aid skills. As with show turnout skills, these can be improved simply by paying interest although, hopefully, there won’t be too much opportunity with horses getting sick and injured! Again, turn to the internet. We have an article about Understanding a Horse’s Vital Signs – it’s surprising and somewhat alarming the number of grooms (even in sole charge) who do not know and have no record of their horses’ vital signs! This is something you can learn and start recording straight away, just from reading our article. Nothing beats hands-on experience but if you have the basics already in your head you’re going to be most of the way there when the time comes!
Also, brush up on the contents of your yard’s First Aid Kit. Our article First Aid at Competitions will give you some great pointers.
Speak to your employer about getting a First Aid Certificate and be an official First Aider on your yard!
- If all else fails…talk to us!
3. Change disciplines the RIGHT way
As detailed in point 1, your career pathway may have stemmed from whatever happened to be available to you when you first started out, and this doesn’t mean you have to stay on that pathway. However, successful career progression isn’t just about gaining lots of diverse experience to show future potential employers what an asset you will be to them. There are very, very few (if any) employers who will require or be impressed by a groom who has worked in 7 different disciplines, at any stage of their career! Be sensible about your career pathway. If you’ve sampled worked in numerous disciplines for just a few weeks/months at a time this is likely to damage your CV, not enhance it! Employers want to know that you’re worth investing training in, without the risk of you leaving 5 minutes later.
Instead, look for short term contracts that legitimately allow you to work for just a few weeks/months without breaking the long-term commitment of a permanent job, or consider a trainee role in another disciple to give you a “leg-up” into it. You can apply for an Apprentice vacancy at any age, so you can gain nationally-recognised qualifications and “earn while you learn” as a suitable means of changing or boosting your career pathway. Find out more about the various course options available by clicking here.
NB: a word of caution about “Working Pupil” roles!
From a legal perspective, there is no such thing as a “Working Pupil” – you are either an Apprentice Groom gaining qualifications via a bona fide registered Training Provider earning no less than the official National Minimum Wage for Apprentices, or you’re a fully paid groom in a trainee capacity, earning the National Minimum Wage for your age. Please do seek advice on any job role offering training and riding as full payment, or as part-payment alongside a reduced salary. You can contact us, even if the job is not advertised on The Grooms List.
Get an HGV licence
This is an investment but it will open up a lot of new opportunities, and higher salary packages! The laws regarding driving HGV vehicles have changed in recent years, which mean you can now get your Category C (old HGV Class 2) and Category CE (old HGV Class 1) licences aged 18! Find out more here.
There is a distinct lack of grooms with an HGV licence (even to drive a 7.5t horsebox), so gaining any of these licences will certainly help to boost your earning capacity. If you’re driving your employer’s HGV horsebox on a licence you’ve funded you can expect to earn more than the National Minimum Wage! 👍 If all else fails…talk to us!
Groom at the Olympics
I very much doubt it’s escaped your attention but, in case you don’t already know, 2020 is an Olympic year. This means that the top riders in almost all disciplines will be on the hunt for extra team members to travel to Japan for the Games and, indeed, to take care of things at home while the nomads amongst us set sail (or wings) for shores afar. If you want to be part of the action, at home or in Japan, make sure The Grooms List team know! We’ll do our best to help you achieve your own Olympic dreams.
Interesting Fact: the Paralympics were founded in Stoke Mandeville in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire. The word “Paralympics” derives from the Greek word παρά, pará (“beside” or “alongside”) and so refers to a competition held in parallel with the Olympic Games. The Paralympics originate from the post World War II Olympic Games held in London, which opened on 29 July 1948. A dedicated medic, Dr. Guttmann, organised the first competition for wheelchair athletes, which he named the Stoke Mandeville Games. They involved 16 injured servicemen and women who took part in archery. The Stoke Mandeville Games later became the Paralympic Games which first took place in Rome, Italy, in 1960 featuring 400 athletes from 23 countries. Since then they have taken place every four years. The Stoke Manderville Stadium exists to this day and you can stay in the hotel there (on Guttman Road 🙂). Every room is equipped to cater for people with disabilities and all stays include access to the stadium’s pool, gymnasium and sauna!
The year ahead
No matter your equine career-plans, as the no.1 equine recruitment agency, The Grooms List is THE place to be for the best jobs and free advice and career planning. We have a catalogue of blogs and articles that will help guide you through the career-planning and recruitment process and we are always just a call or email away so really, If all else fails…talk to us!
Whatever your plans for the year ahead, we wish you a happy and prosperous New Year!