Friday, 29 January 2021
British Equestrian has inducted a fourth cohort into its Young Professionals Programme, which aims to help young people build a wider skill set to support their personal and career development in the equestrian industry.
The 12-month Young Professionals Programme, which is delivered in collaboration with British Dressage, British Eventing and British Showjumping, has been running since 2017. It’s built around a series of interactive workshops with specialist speakers, covering a broad range of topics essential to running a business. These include putting together contracts, understanding employment law, conflict management, insurance and finances, and building a personal brand.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the first workshop was held virtually on Wednesday 27 January, where the 22 young people met as a group for the first time. Georgie Wheeler, who oversees the running of the programme, delivered a brief introduction that gave the riders a taste of what to expect over the next 12 months.
In the first session of the day, Tony Stone, Managing Director of porridge company Stoats, shared his journey to business success. At the age of 24, Tony noticed a gap in the market for an on-the-go porridge product, and has since built a thriving business that supplies the UK’s biggest supermarkets and exports as widely as the US, Dubai and Denmark. He shared the lessons he learned along the way, including diversifying your income streams, successfully managing a team and understanding the community you’re trying to reach with your business.
In the afternoon, Jane Holden from the English Institute of Sport led a personal development planning session, where the young professionals were asked to think about what they need to do to achieve their aspirations and to consider their identity as a person, athlete and potential business owner. By understanding their values, strengths and purpose, they can begin to drive decision-making and take steps towards their goals and life fulfilment.
David Hamer, Head of Performance Pathways, commented: “The equestrian industry, like so many others, has faced severe disruption and uncertainty as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, more than ever, we need to deliver initiatives like the Young Professionals Programme to young people who are transitioning into the equestrian workforce, so they get the support and help they need to shape and formulate their career and business aspirations.
“We know that the majority of equestrian athletes need to support their sporting aspirations with a viable business, so this programme offers a bespoke and unique process of support and education to enable these young people to do this alongside training and competition.”
The British Equestrian Young Professionals Programme will run until Spring 2022, with the hope of running virtual and face-to-face workshops if COVID-19 restrictions allow.