BEN’S BLOG: ‘The BHA Apprenticeship Scheme: Winning TOGETHER’

Recently, a professional football punter, told me that football matches are now judged in 15 minute segments, and teams rated on their performance. Ie: did they statistically “win” that 15 minute slot?

Last night, I was invited, with Russ Candler, the Star Sports MD, to a BHA Apprenticeship Dinner. There, we would meet 22 graduates who had won a place on a 10 week intensive course, where they would do an eight week work-experience placement. On the way, I was terrified that it might be an unpleasant show of racing nepotism and simply a group of floaty Hoorays on the lookout for their first pretend-job.

This was not the case (thank God, Blog!).

The scheme is run by Peter Williams and Kathy Goff. Both bubbled with enthusiasm, pride for their recruits, and care for their futures. And those admirable qualities shone through the 22 young people (cut down from over 250 applicants), who were all so grateful for the chance they had been given. They had all clearly made great friendships, in just the first two weeks of the course. Would those friendships last? (I’m sure they will). Where would they end up in the racing world? (in success, I hope). Would some of them even get married? (Not a million to one!).

Myself and my partner, Belinda, have a baby girl on the way. Just a month to wait now. And I looked at the young people and wondered if (and hoped that!) my daughter would be doing similar in 20 years time. If so, she’d certainly be “winning” in that segment of her life. And I also looked at Peter and Kathy (real winners) and thought that in 15 years time, I’d like to be doing what they are doing; enabling, helping and encouraging young people in The Game.

The BHA are an easy target for those who choose to be toxic in their negativity. But they are our governing body. And they are our only governing body. And whenever I have dealt with them, I have only met competent and well meant people. So WE MUST GET BEHIND THEM.

In other news:

It was rather disappointing that no bookies were represented as offering work-experience to the apprentices. The Firms used to do this, but the initiative was left on the side in recent years (like most initiative at The Firms, Blog..?). Anyway, Star Sports have offered two places for next year, so if you’re interested…get in touch with Peter and Kathy..!

Over and out, B x