Over 90 per cent of CAFRE’s equine graduates secure industry positions

CAFRE employment BR Farm
FARRIERY: The farrier Upskilling Course is very popular at CAFRE Enniskillen Campus. (FW20-509NN)

IF you are considering a career in equestrianism, then the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) is the only place on the island of Ireland offering accredited, respected and recognised qualifications in the field.

CAFRE offer courses in equestrianism from certificate level to honours degrees in Equine Management. Most of the qualifications are taught at the College’s Enniskillen campus with some of the shorter courses taking place at the Greenmount campus in Antrim.

GALLOPS: CAFRE students exercising the racehorses on the Enniskillen Campus gallops. (FW20-508NN)

So, why would prospective students want to study at CAFRE?

CAFRE’s ethos is very much captured by the phrase ‘learning by doing’, a concept which is fully embraced by their students.

Toni Donnelly, a Schools Recruitment Adviser at CAFRE, said: “What is taught in the classroom can be easily demonstrated in our practical facilities. And, these are not just any practical facilities.

“CAFRE’s Knowledge Advisory Service works closely with industry to develop businesses and enhance the knowledge and skills of those already working in the agri-food sector. As a result, the practical facilities at Enniskillen campuses are superb, demonstrating the latest science, technology, innovations and business management techniques for industry, as well as allowing students to learn in first class facilities in courses delivered by highly qualified staff. The Campus houses three equine units – namely the Racing Yard, Breeding and Equitation Units, which are invaluable to students learning.”

Equestrian students have the security of knowing that industry links are established from day one of their journey through CAFRE with over £64,000 in bursaries available of which £24,000 is available to first year equine degree students to apply for.

Toni Donnelly continued: “Industry visits and work placements are an integral part of programmes. Students can be based in the UK and Ireland or travel further afield. In fact, international travel is encouraged. For example, in recent years Enniskillen students have travelled to Kentucky to work as shadow staff in leading Thoroughbred and sport horse businesses. Students gain valuable experience on placement and this leaves them well placed to gain employment in the equine industry at different levels depending on their qualifications and experience.

“Job opportunities in the equine industry are wide ranging and offer the opportunity for world-wide travel. Job satisfaction is always quoted as one of the best things about a career in the industry,” said Toni.

Graduates of CAFRE’s equine school include many people who have carved out successful careers. For example, Francis Finnegan is a racehorse trainer in New Zealand combining his excellent horsemanship with business management and people skills.

Anthony O’Donnell works for Godolphin’s Stud Farms, managing the Stallion Nominations for their studs and Darren McKay is Yearling Manager at Yulong Investments Stud in Australia, which is renowned for producing the highest priced horses at the yearling sales.

There are also plenty of opportunities closer to home. Nessa Toher Shannon manages her own equestrian Centre in Galway, as well as being a BHS Instructor and competes with considerable success in dressage. Meanwhile, Sorcha Woods is completing her BSc in Equine Management at CAFRE and is an up and coming lady jockey in the racing world.

Emma Ferguson has recently secured a position as Horseware Ireland’s Global Marketing Manager for their home brand and Orlagh Rice is training Manager for RACE Academy in the Curragh.

Toni Donnelly concluded: “Other opportunities lie in lecturing, consultancy, administration, marketing, as well as farriery. CAFREs highly skilled and knowledgeable graduates are highly sought after, with 93 per cent securing jobs within six months of graduating.”

WEIGHT MANAGEMENT: Students weigh horses routinely to assist in diet and fitness management (NB Photo taken before COVID-19). (FW20-507NN)

If you would like to find out more about CAFRE and the courses on offer, please visit the website: www.cafre.ac.uk or email: enquiries@cafre.ac.uk or call Freephone 0800 028 4291 or follow them on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram as Discover CAFRE.

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