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British Horse Society

The British Horse Society is the largest and most influential equestrian charity in the UK and is also the home of British Riding Clubs.

 

The plan to increase government spending on adult apprenticeships has been welcomed by businesses and colleges alike.  Apprenticeships are increasingly recognised as a cost-effective way of recruiting and training staff.  They are not just suitable for large companies; many small and medium sized businesses are also taking on apprentices through Warwickshire College.

 

The British Horse Society employs 70-80 people and has been taking on one or two business administration apprentices a year, for the last nine years.  The majority of apprentices who finish their apprenticeship stay on to work for the charity and some of the early apprentices are now amongst the most valuable employees in the company. 

 

Programme Co-ordinator and Senior Executive, Annemarie Westwood, explains how the programme was set up: “when I arrived at the charity, there was a lot of admin work to get through.  I simply needed more help and engaging an apprentice was a cost-effective way of sharing the workload.  Since those early days, we have invested a lot in developing our apprenticeship programme.  [The apprentices typically spend a day a week at college and four days with us.  They rotate around different departments, such as Safety, Welfare and Membership and are also trained on reception and post room duties.

 

“The apprentices do a very useful job for us right from the beginning.  They become valuable employees in a short space of time and when they are on holiday, we really miss them!  The directors have commented on how many of our apprentices stay on and work for us permanently.]

 

“The apprenticeship scheme enables people to be trained in our way of doing things – as well as skills, they learn about the ethos and environment of our organisation.  When the apprenticeship is finished, we encourage them to apply for permanent jobs with us– they have to compete against external applicants but their experience gives them a head start.  We find that the apprenticeship scheme produces top class, skilled, loyal employees, who tend to stay with the Society for a number of years.

 

“The college have been great at finding us apprentices and are always supportive and quick to deal with any issues.”

 

Warwickshire College Training Manager, Maureen Bensa, said: “this has been a very successful programme.  It works well because the charity provide a high level of support and encouragement, giving apprentices every chance to succeed.  The college provides training in background business knowledge, topics such as legislation, communications skills and computer use.  The British Horse Society have a lot of former apprentices now on their permanent staff which is great for growing people in their business and for succession planning.”

 

 

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