Sixteen new trainees began their Fast Track journey last week with the aim of building successful careers in the industry.
Launched by Thoroughbred Breeders Australia (TBA) in 2018, the Fast Track program offers passionate horse people a pathway into the breeding sector, as well as the opportunity to gain a nationally recognised formal qualification.
Over the next 12 months, trainees will study for a Certificate III in Horse Breeding, while working full-time for some of the country’s most respected stud farms.
The 2022 crop is made up of trainees from five of the six states with students taking up placements on farms in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Queensland – the widest representation of states since the program’s inception.
Expanding the number of interstate trainees was made possible thanks to funding secured through the AgriFutures Australia Capacity Building Program.
Separate to the Thoroughbred Research and Development Levy, the Capacity Building Program awards grants for projects that specifically focus on helping levied industries develop their skills.
This year’s cohort includes a pilot, a veteran and a childcare worker, all of who were looking for an opportunity to turn their passion for horses into a new career.
Former soldier, Jimmy Clarke, developed an interest in horses while working with them in a veteran therapy program.
“When I was transitioning out of the army, I started working with horses in the program and just really loved it”, says Clarke.
“From there I spent time with an organisation in the Northern Territory that worked with kids in detention doing equine assisted therapy. I decided I wanted to pursue a career with horses and someone suggested I take a look at Fast Track.
“I thought I had no chance of getting selected because of my limited experience but I got the call up and here I am. I’m really excited to get stuck in and make the most of the opportunity. ”
TBA’s newly appointed Education and Projects Manager, Madison Tims, says Jimmy’s story highlights the important role Fast Track plays in bringing new people into our industry.
“Without pathways like Fast Track, people like Jimmy would be lost to us. You don’t need to have grown up in breeding and racing to succeed. If you’ve got the right attitude and are willing to get in and work hard, you can achieve great things.”
The trainees continue at TAFE in the Scone for the next three weeks before joining their farms to prepare for the breeding season.