Advanced Apprenticeship in Thoroughbred Stud Work

General programme details and entry criteria

The Advanced Apprenticeship is a Government funded scheme and is open to 18 – 23 year olds. It is a natural progression route for Intermediate Apprentices and E2SE completers who are within the age band and fit the other entry criteria. It may also be an option for current stud staff to achieve an accredited qualification, or if an applicants prior experience of working with stud animals is above that of Level 2.

The Advanced Apprenticeship (AA) recruits throughout the year. On an individual basis each applicant will be interviewed and the qualification process explained. The AA requires an applicant to be in full time employment on a stud farm. It is crucial that their employer supports the enrolment as regular visits and some absences from work may be necessary to achieve the full AA qualification. Throughout the minimum 18 months required in stud work employment, AA’s are visited, supported and assessed by National Stud training staff.

The entry criteria are:

  • significant prior experience with horses and
  • a permanent post in the Thoroughbred stud industry

Exclusions from the course include not having achieved a degree level qualification.

The AA requires considerable commitment from the candidate to work independently and requires that the applicant has some level of responsibility within their place of work.

GCSE grade C or above in Maths and English (Lit or Lang) is required by the AA framework, however if this is not held a Functional Skill (FS) Level 2 qualification in Maths and English will be accepted. It is highly recommended that if neither GCSE’s or FS are already held that an applicant attempts them via evening classes at a local college or centre of learning as taking time off work to attend during the day may not be easy to combine with full time employment. Please contact us for further advice if required.

Similar to all Government AA’s, being funded on the programme is reliant on being in relevant UK employment. If employment ends the AA registration will be suspended or terminated. The AA is a considerable commitment and only applicants with a clear career plan and employer support can be considered for enrolment.

Syllabus overview

The AA in Thoroughbred Stud Work is a Government funded scheme that encourages young people to move in to higher level vocational training in the workplace. The syllabus builds on the Level 2 content and covers general management of Thoroughbreds as well as specific areas related to the breeding industry.

Accommodation and Board

As an Advanced Apprentice it is expected you will already be in employment and therefore living on or near your place of work as part of your employment contract.


Over the 18 months in paid employment an Advanced Apprentice will need to achieve the following to complete the AA framework:

• Basic Emergency First Aid
• Level 3 Award in Transporting Horses on Short Journeys
• Level 3 Certificate in the Principles of Horse Care and Management
• Level 3 Work Based Diploma in Racehorse Care (Breeding option)
• GCSE Maths and English at Grade C or Functional Skills Level 2

Fees and application process

Applicants need to contact us to discuss the application process and arrange for an interview. As it is a Government programme there are no fees to pay, however there will be some attendance required at online exams and for assessment which must be allowed for by the employer and candidate.

Employment and progression opportunities

After completing the Advanced Apprenticeship at Level 3, trainees can take a number of options:

• As an experienced stud hand remain in full time employment either in the UK or overseas.
• Apply for the Diploma in Stud Practice and Management at The National Stud or an alternative higher level programme of study.


Can I go straight to the Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship without doing the Level 2 Apprenticeship?
Yes, if you have been employed in the industry for a sufficient period of time and have enough experience this is possible. It is crucial that your employer understands that you will need time to be assessed and that attending other training in work time may be necessary. Ask for more detail if this is a concern.

Can I just do a relevant Level 3 qualification without doing the Advanced Apprenticeship?
Yes, but there will be fees attached as the Government only funds certain qualifications and age groups. Contact us for more details and it may well be worth asking your employer if they will fund or part fund your training.

Do I need to be doing all aspects of stud farm work?
Yes, the Level 3 qualification covers the full year so experience of all aspects of the breeding season is required as well as Sales and preparation work.

Do I need academic qualifications to apply for the Advanced Apprenticeship?
No, but you will need the Maths and English qualifications which we advise candidates to achieve outside work hours. More advice on this is available from the Training Department, please use the contact form to ask any questions.

What have past Advanced Apprentices said about the experience?

“Completing the Advanced Apprenticeship gave me new skills and knowledge to successfully pursue my career. It gave me the confidence to work overseas and then look to return to position of responsibility in the UK”                                                                    Advanced Apprentice graduate 2016