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Study provides solutions to staffing crisis in UK horse racing
Elizabeth Juckes led the study as part of a postgraduate dissertation towards a masters degree in Equine Science.

Lack of training and increased hours cited as key issues

An in-depth study carried out by Hartpury University, in collaboration with the British Racing School, has revealed multiple problem areas in the UK horse racing industry which have contributed to the current staffing crisis.

The study asked 30 participants – made up of junior and senior racing staff and racehorse trainers – to provide their views and opinions on why the industry is having problems. The aim of the study was to investigate these issues, and form strategies to address them.

Major concerns included a lack of management training for senior staff, difficulties in maintaining a work-life balance and the departure of employees aged 25 and over.

An increase in race fixtures, low wages, lack of career progression and perceived generational differences in work ethic were also cited highlighted as having an impact on employee retention.

“The British Horse racing Industry has been experiencing a labour shortage since the 1970s,” said Elizabeth Juckes, who led the study as part of a postgraduate dissertation towards a masters degree in Equine Science.

“Despite recent improvement reported in staff retainment, there is still significantly high reported staff turnover compared to other sectors, and trainers experience challenges with recruiting qualified and experienced staff.”

The study suggested that by implementing improved management training schemes and reducing race-day fixtures, senior staff members would be better supported in their roles, day-to-day pressure would be reduced and job satisfaction could be improved for all staff.

Ms Juckes continued: “Whilst retention will remain an issue for the racing industry in the short term, an opportunity exists for the racing industry to consult with all stakeholders to formulate and implement a strategic plan to address the underpinning themes identified by the study to improve the long-term perspective and safeguard the future of racing and the staff who work within it.”

Image (c) Hartpury University.

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BEVA gives vets access to free membership for three months

News Story 1
 BEVA has announced that it is cutting membership renewal charges for the next three months in order to support all veterinary professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Memberships for all existing BEVA members will be extended until 30 June 2020. Veterinary professionals who are not members of BEVA will also be able to sign up for a free membership until 30 June 2020.

BEVA president Tim Mair said: "In this extraordinary time of global crisis our profession, as with many industries, is under immense pressure. By offering free membership we are giving equine vets easy access to a wealth of supportive resources and online CPD."

To sign up please visit the BEVA website.

Image (c) BEVA. 

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LOVE Gorgie Farm seeking veterinary volunteers

LOVE Gorgie Farm in Edinburgh is looking for people with veterinary and animal care experience, who would be interested in volunteering to help care for its animals during these difficult times.

The community-owned charity farm opened to the public only last month, but decided to close temporarily amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Its three-person team is working to care for the animals behind the scenes and the farm is now operating as a food bank for the public, delivering free breakfasts to local school children.

In an effort to build a contingency plan to secure the welfare of its animals, LOVE Gorgie Farm is looking for volunteers who would be able to step in if any team members fell sick or needed to self-isolate.

Those interested in volunteering are asked to contact