If you are dreaming of becoming a professional jockey, Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE (NMIT) can offer you a head start.
In February 2008, NMIT will be the only TAFE provider in Melbourne to offer the full-time Certificate II in Racing (Stablehand) as a pre-apprenticeship for potential jockeys. NMIT is offering this new training at the request of Racing Victoria Limited (RVL) to assist in the talent identification process for apprentice jockeys.
RVL General Manager, Education & Training, Chris Watson, said RVL recently conducted a review of working and training conditions in Victoria for apprentice jockeys and one of the outcomes of that review was to introduce a talent identification process for apprentice jockeys.
'RVL believed the best way that could be achieved was to work closely with TAFE providers who offer quality equine studies' programs to help in that identification process,' Chris said.
'RVL approached NMIT with the concept of delivering Certificate II in Racing (Stablehand) which would enable us to identify young people who had the potential to become apprentice jockeys.
'This Certificate will enable these young people to learn and demonstrate basic horsemanship skills, comply with OH & S standards and work in a stables' environment.'
Chris added RVL would tap into the expertise of NMIT's equine studies' staff as an integral part of the identification process.
RVL, with 40 apprentice jockeys in Victoria, is responsible for the formal training of these apprentices who undertake Certificate IV in Racing as part of their apprenticeship.
Certificate II in Racing (Stablehand) is part of the National Racing Industry Training Package and NMIT is offering it for the first time. The certificate focuses on classroom tuition based at NMIT's Epping campus, with a major emphasis on practical skills with horses to be developed at NMIT's 300-hectare thoroughbred stud, Northern Lodge, in Eden Park.
The course includes a theory unit such as working effectively in the thoroughbred racing industry by providing an insight and understanding into the demands of the industry and possible career pathways.
This is complemented by the acquisition of practical skills such as the ability to handle horses safely, care for horses and assess their well-being as well as basic riding skills with a focus on riding horses for the industry.
Students would be involved in saddling and riding horses and the daily routines of a racing stable including mucking out boxes, pre-and post track work routines and the general maintenance of thoroughbred racehorses.
NMIT Equine Studies Program Coordinator Phil Jones said the Certificate was designed to provide a pathway for potential apprentice jockeys by equipping them with basic horsemanship skills.
He added it may also provide a pathway for other careers in the industry such as trackriding, advanced stablehands and stables' forepersons and would lead onto Certificate III and IV in Racing.
'This is an opportunity for NMIT to work closely with RVL to create educational programs for the industry and to assist RVL in identifying potential apprentice jockeys,' Phil said.
He added the industry now required this Certificate II as a minimum qualification for entry into the industry for both stablehands and potential apprentice jockeys.
NMIT currently runs about 45 commercial mares and two stallions at Northern Lodge, which is one of the leading studs of TAFE providers in the country.
The stud boasts modern stables, covering barn, ménage, stripping stalls, a horse walker, sand roll and a 1400-metre racing/training track and classrooms.
'The Certificate II is an outstanding starting point for some of the big names for the thoroughbred racing industry in the future by providing a supervised introduction to horses for young people,' Phil said.
'Not all professional jockeys are born into the game and the Certificate course will give young people a thorough grounding in horsemanship for their careers in the industry.'
Phil added NMIT was currently negotiating with Yarra Glen Racing Club to utilise its training facilities in the Yarra Valley such as modern classrooms, fully functional racing and training track and use of the club's barrier stalls, stripping stalls and on course stables.
As part of its extensive educational programs in equine studies, NMIT also offers a three-year, specialist bachelor degree in equine studies and diploma and certificate courses in breeding and racing. It is also the only training provider of farriery in Victoria.
Course Inquiries: Tel: NMIT: (03) 9269-1042
Interview / Photo Opportunity
Media enquiries should be directed to the NMIT Communications Officer, James Gardener, on (03) 92691579, 0413 483 182 or firstname.lastname@example.org
NMIT (Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE) - Situated on seven campuses and six training centres throughout Melbourne's north, NMIT delivers vocational training, higher education and lifelong learning capabilities for a global workforce. NMIT forges partnerships with community, industry and government to produce practical, solution orientated graduates capable of making meaningful contributions to their chosen field of endeavour.
Interview / Photo Opportunity
Media enquiries should be directed to the NMIT Communications Officer, James Gardener.