TAFE NSW Moss Vale has helped a group of local high school students take the bit by the teeth and gallop towards a career in the thoroughbred industry as part of a unique new school internship program.
In a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, 12 year 9 and 10 students from a host of local high schools last week toured some of the Southern Highlands’ most elite thoroughbred facilities and met a host of leading industry figures, including racing’s “first lady” Gai Waterhouse and Australia’s leading horse trainer, Ciaron Maher.
Held in conjunction with Regional Industry Education Partnerships and the Silverdale Academy, the program aims to highlight the career pathways for young people in the thoroughbred racing and breeding industry, which is booming in the Southern Highlands.
Three of the 12 participants were offered jobs during the week-long course, underscoring the demand for TAFE NSW students and the powerful connections to industry made during the event.
TAFE NSW Moss Vale equine teacher Linda Molloy said she expected more job offers for students in the coming weeks.
“The industry is really crying out for workers and this was a truly priceless experience for these students,” Ms Molloy said.
“The stakeholders are all really keen to be involved in programs like this because they can see benefits for the future of their industry.”
According to AgriFutures Australia, the thoroughbred breeding industry generates more than $1.16 billion in value-added impacts to the nation economy each year, 65 per cent of that in NSW.
Participants undertook activities and tours at the 260-hectare thoroughbred broodmare property Silverdale Farm in Fitzroy Falls, and also visited pre-training facility Thenford Farm, Milburn Creek Stud, Ciaron Maher Racing Stables at Bong Bong and a specialist vet clinic at Randwick.
The program included guest speakers from across the thoroughbred racing and breeding spectrum, including trainers Gai Waterhouse and Ciaron Maher, bloodstock agents, journalists, farriers, breeders and pre-trainers.
Moss Vale High year 10 student Nick Barton, 16, said the program had given him hands-on skills and opened his eyes to the multitude of career options in the thoroughbred industry.
“I’ve been around horses my whole life but to see this side of the industry was really interesting,” Nick said.
“To hear the career journeys of everyone and learn about the many job avenues in the industry was great and it’s really made me want a career in thoroughbreds even more.”