End for lads and lasses in new BHA initiative

Stable staff go about their duties

Stable staff: new job titles have been introduced

 PICTURE:Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos) 

 By Bruce Jackson 9:01AM 13 MAR 2017 

RACING is getting rid of stable lads and stable lasses under a new industry initiative.

Before owners and trainers choke on their cornflakes, it’s the job title that is going as racing tries to attract more young people into jobs in racing stables.

Racing groom, work rider, racing staff and stable staff are the new job titles that have been adopted and are now in place on the sport’s central recruitment website www.careersinracing.com.  

The latest industry rebranding attempts to rid the sport of the image of 19th and 20th century stable staff and highlight the skilled nature of the job and its benefits.

The industry has been trying to address shortages in stable staff and high turnover, with BHA figures showing 1,700 vacancies advertised each year with 1,300 recruited, which leaves a shortfall of up to 500 a year and some trainers struggling to cope.

Racing bodies are united in working to attract young people, and Rupert Arnold, National Trainers Federation chief executive, said on Sunday: “This has come to the fore with discussions on the industry roadshows recently and the need to attract young people in a very competitive market.

“Job descriptions haven’t been specific and the point is to make job titles something that are relevant to young people to engage them when going into schools and meeting parents to attract people to appealing jobs in racing yards.”

Robin Mounsey, BHA media manager, said: “Titles of ‘lad’ and ‘lass’ do not properly reflect the skill and dedication of the staff who provide first-class care for the horses in British racing, while racing groom is much more appropriate

“Racing offers a great ‘package’ to its staff and there has never been a better time to work in the sport. They get the opportunity to work with amazing animals and be involved in the nation’s second biggest sport, plus access to union-agreed pay structures, prize-money pools, occupational health, pension and insurance schemes as well as a newly-launched careers advice and training scheme.”

George McGrath, chief executive of the National Association of Stable Staff, which has more than 6,600 members, welcomed the move.

“It’s about moving forward and giving a professional workforce a professional name,” he said.

“The general public who don’t understand racing when hearing lads and lasses conjures up an image of a pre-teenager who loves horses living above the barn, which is so far from reaiity.

“I always use ‘racing staff’ and I know nine out of ten filling a form in a bank put down agricultural labourer when applying for loans or mortgages as if that’s better than what they do.

“We needed to create a more professional image.”

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