Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association Entry to Stud Employment Programme Supported by the Racing Foundation

Thoroughbred Breeders' Association

General course details & entry criteria

Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association funded training, delivered by The National Stud, for adults who lack practical experience but are committed to a career in the Thoroughbred breeding industry.

The National Stud is delighted to be delivering this programme for the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association (TBA) to provide a route for people unable to access the Apprenticeships in Stud Work or the National Stud’s Diploma in Stud Practice and Management courses.

Entry to Stud Employment Programme (E2SE) is open to anyone aged 18 or above; there are no entry criteria as such, other than the physical aptitude for the job and the drive to learn and work in the industry. Prior experience with horses is NOT a prerequisite and no advantage is given to those who do have prior experience with horses. A commitment to working hard in the industry and learning on the job is required, as is a positive attitude and the ability to work in a team.

The E2SE programme aims to recruit suitable candidates and prepare them to join the stud industry workforce. The course runs in two parts; an initial residential programme at The National Stud, which prepares trainees for the follow on 6 to 9 month period of paid work on a stud farm gaining valuable experience and qualifications.

During the residential part there will be lots of relevant stud farm experience and horse handling. This culminates in trainees assisting at the December Mare and Foal Sales for either the National Stud or another commercial stud farm. If a trainee on the E2SE residential programme achieves the required standard and is considered suitable for recommendation they will be introduced to a suitable stud farm for a placement interview. The placement duration is negotiable but will be a minimum of 6 months in order for the E2SE trainee to achieve the Level 2 Work-Based Diploma in Racehorse Care (Breeding option) qualification.

Throughout the training E2SE trainees will be supported and guided. Once a trainee starts in employment they are visited and assessed by National Stud training staff on a regular basis. Completion of the programme and qualifications is however reliant on remaining in stud work employment.

Syllabus overview

The E2SE is a pilot initiative looking to accept up to 12 candidates a year and provide them with access to full time stud work. The syllabus covers all the main elements of a stud hand’s work. This will include: practical yard work, horse handling, estate maintenance, team work, Health and Safety and First Aid all supported by relevant lectures to underpin the practical learning.  During the 9 week residential period E2SE candidates will be assessed for basic horsemanship skills at Level 2 which will go towards completing the full industry relevant stud work qualification once in employment.

Accommodation and Board

The 9 week residential programme at the National Stud is fully catered for in Westbrook House and completely funded by the TBA. E2SE trainees will need to have sufficient funds to purchase personal items, join in social events and get home in an emergency or on weekends off.

If a trainee secures employment on a stud farm they will usually be provided with accommodation. This is likely to be in a shared accommodation unit and will be on a single occupancy agreement. There may be contributions expected towards the accommodation, i.e. some utility bills, but each case is individual. E2SE trainees will be paid for their work during their employment placement the rate of pay is variable, but will reflect their age and experience.


After completing the 9 week residential programme, all trainees should have achieved:

• Basic Emergency First Aid
• Manual Handling Awareness
• Introduction to tractor driving – subject to driving licence requirements
• Relevant online certificates related to employment and stud work
• Level 3 Award in Transporting Horses on Short Journeys
• Level 2 Certificate in the Principles of Horse Care
• Recommendation for employment with a stud farm

After 6-9 months in paid employment:

• Level 2 Work Based Diploma in Racehorse Care (Breeding option)

Fees and application process

The 9 week residential course, support, guidance and assessment during the 6-9 months employment is funded by the TBA. However, there are some costs that each trainee will need to fund:

• Refundable accommodation deposit of £250 per student for the 9 week residential period.

• £75 contribution towards the group social fund, which will include the subsidised 12 month membership fee to The Thoroughbred Club.

• Trainees will need to provide a correctly fitted skull cap (with or without silk cap), a pair of comfortable, well-fitting protective toe cap boots and a pair of gloves suitable to wear during the handling of horses.

A recommended list of other clothes and equipment needed will be sent to successful candidates in the joining instructions.

Interviews are held late spring and through the summer for a mid-October start. Trainee selection is held at The National Stud and will require applicants to attend for a half day of familiarisation, assessment and interview.

Details on the Admissions Policy can be down loaded from the Policies Page

Applying is easy, download the application form, complete the relevant sections and return it to the training department. If you have any questions about the E2SE please contact us.

Employment and progression opportunities

The E2SE aims to enable new entrants to get a structured entry into the stud staff workforce. At the end of the programme trainees are encouraged to continue their progression within full time industry employment.

After completing the E2SE, trainees can take a number of options:

• Remain in full time stud work employment to increase their vocational experience. Several part time qualifications are available as career development opportunities whilst employed in the UK.
• Subject to age restrictions, Government funded progression to the Advanced Apprenticeship at Level 3 whilst in employment in the UK may be possible.
• Apply for the Diploma in Stud Practice and Management at The National Stud or an alternative higher level programme of study.