Cover image courtesy of Thoroughbred Industry Careers
The low number of young Australians choosing racing and breeding as their career path of choice has become an even greater concern after the COVID-imposed travel limitations of 2020 limited access to international employees.
Chris Waller believes changes to stable working hours is paramount, with early starts and late finishes a major turn-off to the younger generation. He believes starting trackwork later in the morning is one move in the right direction.
“Who really wants their children to be starting work at 3 am, or having to drive to work or catch public transport at that time?’’ Waller said. “And who actually wants to do it? Only those who have ‘toughed’ it out and had to do it.
“But we are not going to get new people into the game unless they have a mad love for horses and racing, and that is getting few and far between.”
While Mark Newnham doesn’t believe early starts are the central issue, he thinks wider promotion of the industry to schools and pony clubs is a positive and necessary move.
Thoroughbred Industry Careers (TIC) is a national education and marketing initiative working feverishly in that area.
TIC was established in 2018 and is a not-for-profit industry organisation, which aims to promote careers by introducing grassroots programs, facilitating best practice education, training and mentoring pathways for those entering the industry and to assist in developing retention and welfare strategies to create fulfilling and rewarding long-term careers.
However, TIC Founder Lindy Maurice said attracting ongoing funding for their work to assist young people into racing and breeding careers was a major issue.
“I initially went to seven organisations for help with funding and they are Arrowfield Stud, Godolphin, Tony McEvoy, the Australian Turf Club, Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott, Lindsay Park and Chris Waller.
“Those seven gave a three-year commitment which got us rolling, but we need a long-term and sustainable funding strategy to continue, then grow.”
Arrowfield Principal John Messara was one of the first foundation sponsors and is a major supporter and advocate of TIC.
“It’s never been more challenging than it is today to attract staff to work in the thoroughbred industry. I cannot stress enough how important, what Lindy Maurice is doing with Thoroughbred Industry Careers, is for the future of our industry,” Messara said.
“I cannot stress enough how important, what Lindy Maurice is doing with Thoroughbred Industry Careers, is for the future of our industry.” – John Messara
“We think it’s so vital that we reallocated the Arrowfield bloodstock sales levy funds over to Thoroughbred Industry Careers when we became a foundation member in 2018.
“The bloodstock sales levy was established 15 or so years ago because the industry had important international marketing goals to achieve, but today I believe the biggest threat to our future is attracting and training the next generation of employees.
“We need great people with the necessary horsemanship skills rearing, riding and handling our horses.”
Racing New South Wales and Racing South Australia have also assisted TIC along with Racing Victoria and Racing Queensland who have contributed to the cause for the last two years.
“I’m immensely grateful for these initial partners, but unfortunately it’s not a consistent revenue source. Every year I need to throw the hat around again to keep going,” Maurice said.
“We are a national organisation and need a national funding plan.”
A positive funding step is the announcement of sponsorship packages at varying financial entry levels, to allow businesses and individuals to assist TIC to achieve its goals.
“People can take a Diamond, Gold, Silver and Bronze-level sponsorship package to donate funding toward TIC,” Maurice said.
“People can take a Diamond, Gold, Silver and Bronze-level sponsorship package for the greater good of the industry.” – Lindy Maurice
The Diamond Sponsorship is more than $25,000, Gold Sponsorship $20,000 (+ GST), Silver Sponsorship $10,000 (+ GST) and Bronze Sponsorship $5000 (+ GST).
Business logos or individual names will appear on the TIC website should contributors choose as acknowledgement for their generous support.
TDN AusNZ is proud to commit to an annual bronze sponsorship package and would like to encourage industry organisations to do the same.
“What Lindy has already achieved on very limited resources is exceptional,” said Vicky Leonard, TDN AusNZ co-owner and Managing Director.
“It would be wonderful to see the industry band together with financial support so Lindy can continue her great work and grow TIC further.
“Gary King and I were the lucky beneficiaries of an industry education courtesy of the Godolphin Flying Start program and are incredibly grateful for the career opportunities it opened for us. TIC is providing that open door for many young Australians, and most importantly, reaching those who may not have considered the thoroughbred industry as a career option otherwise.”
Maurice has established several promotional initiatives to reach young Australians who already have an equine passion, providing content and resources so they and their parents can understand career pathways available in the thoroughbred industry.
“We sponsored the National Pony Club National Championships in September this year and that attracts the best riders from all over Australia, so is a great source of top young horse people.
“It’s just one of the things we do throughout the year to showcase industry careers to the grassroots of Australia. It’s an example of what the sponsorship money and donations will be used for, to drive greater awareness of the careers available.
“The work TIC is doing is benefitting the whole industry. The money you’ll be chipping in is directly to help secure the industry’s future.” – Lindy Maurice
“When you are face-to-face with people at the grassroots level you start building trust and people start thinking ‘these people are out here helping our kids’. We have already put 70 trained people in the workplace, but we still have so much more work to do and need more funding to continue to reach young people.
“The work TIC is doing is benefitting the whole industry. The money you’ll be chipping in is directly to help secure the industry’s future.”
Another project Maurice is keen to launch with the assistance of extra funding is pong racing in Australia.
“I see that as being great for the racing industry because we would have all these kids racing on country racetracks in all different areas.
“You look at every country town and everyone is at a cricket oval or at rugby or whatever and no-one is at the races because it’s an adult game, it’s a gambling game.
“But it is much more than that, it’s a sport where we race horses and why couldn’t kids on their ponies be racing on all of our racetracks across the country.
“We’re saying we’ve got no apprentice jockeys or trackriders and other staff and up until TIC we weren’t communicating with the world out there and had no links to kids riding horses.
“We have programs to convert people who are interested in trained staff. For the greater good, we’ve got a huge job to do and we need more support. We’ve made good headway, but we’ve only just scratched the surface.”