The MP for Newark, Robert Jenrick, visited Whatton Manor Stud in his constituency in Nottinghamshire to learn more about the horse racing industry and the challenges it faces
The MP for Newark, Robert Jenrick, visited a stud in his constituency last week (Friday, November 17).
The reason for the visit was to see the impact of a recruitment crisis for British horseracing and breeding.
Mr Jenrick – who retained his role as Minister of State for Immigration in last week’s Government reshuffle – was given a tour around the Whatton Manor Stud.
He got to see first-hand the high levels of care the horses received and the highly specialised roles upon which the industry relies.
Owned and managed by the Player family, Whatton Manor has become a leading sales consignor and racehorse nursery in its 40-year history as a stud.
Recent products of their nursery include State of Rest, (winner at the highest levels in Britain, France, America, and Australia) and Starman (a recent Champion Sprinter in Europe).
Ed Player gave Mr Jenrick an insight into the importance of breeding operations to rural economies not only as direct employers but also as the cornerstone of an extensive network of interdependent industries.
The Minister was also taken through the challenges that the breeding and horseracing industry currently faces in recruiting people into highly specialised roles which are vital to the success of studs and racing yards.
Greg Swift, from the British Horseracing Association, and Joe Grimwade, from the Thoroughbred
Breeders’ Association, joined the visit to discuss the racing and breeding industry’s application for six of these roles to be included on the Shortage Occupation List – a mechanism that makes it easier to recruit highly skilled workers from overseas.
The Migration Advisory Committee – the independent body that advises the Government on immigration issues – has recently recommended to the Home Office that the roles should go on the list.
That recommendation is now with Home Secretary James Cleverly for a decision.
Greg Swift, Director of Communications and Corporate Affairs at the BHA, said: “Britain is rightly recognised as the world leader in breeding and racing Thoroughbred horses.
“But that position is being threatened by a significant skills gap in some highly specialised roles on racing yards and studs.
"In May we submitted a detailed application for six roles to go on the
Shortage Occupation List and were pleased to see the Migration Advisory Committee agree with our submission.
“We are committed to the training and education of our home-grown talent but some of these roles can take four years to learn.
"The rural location of our employers and the increasing urbanisation of
society means it is also becoming harder to recruit people into the industry.
“In the meantime, we have a skills shortage of more than 2,500 roles and we are asking the Government to add these key roles to the Shortage Occupation List to minimize the cost of recruiting from abroad.
“We thoroughly appreciate the pressure to restrict immigration and recognise that recruiting talent from overseas can only be an interim position while the sport continues to develop its education and
training programme capacities.
“But racing and breeding contribute more than £4billion to the UK economy and employ – directly and indirectly – more than 85,000 people and the industry must be properly resourced so it can remain a global leader.
“We are very grateful that the Minister gave us so much of his valuable time to discuss the issue.”
Robert Jenrick said: "It was a fascinating morning visiting the Whatton Manor Stud at Whatton in the Vale.
"The Stud is a family-run business, owned and operated by the Player family who hosted me.
"I learned about the industry, met the team, representatives from the British Horseracing Association, Thoroughbred Breeders Association, and some magnificent horses.
"We spoke about career opportunities and how to encourage young people to enter the sector.
"The industry is a great British success story, with a rich heritage that is admired all over the world.
"It’s wonderful to have a leading stud in Nottinghamshire.”