Twin Hills has brought three Fast Track trainees through the farm in recent years, with two of them now working on an ongoing basis for the business helping Tait alleviate one of the biggest challenges in the thoroughbred game, finding suitably qualified staff.
Now entering its fifth year, the Fast Track Program, which is co-ordinated by Thoroughbred Breeders Australia (TBA), is a national training scheme which is designed to connect passionate people with a pathway into the thoroughbred industry.
Applications for the 2022 intake into the program are now open, and will close on February 28, with the 12-month program designed to target people from outside of breeding and racing.
Tait’s philosophy around building a successful business on good people saw him get involved with Fast Track, and that is already having a tangible impact on Twin Hills.
“It’s a great initiative as people are at the core of our business. It’s a people game, and the better the quality of people we can get involved in the racing industry, the better the industry will be,” Tait told TDN AusNZ.
“That’s the endeavour of the Fast Track Program. We have had trainees for the past three years come and work with us and they have been fantastic.
“That’s the endeavour of the Fast Track Program. We (Twin Hills) have had trainees for the past three years come and work with us and they have been fantastic.” – Olly Tait
“I’m fully supportive of what the intention for the program is and the people that it attracts, in our experience, have been very good.”
Developed in response to a skills shortage which was proving a significant concern for the broader thoroughbred industry, inductees into the program commence a full-time traineeship with a stud farm while studying for a Certificate III in Horse Breeding – a nationally recognised formal qualification.
To complement the on-the-job learning, students attend two intensive learning blocks in Scone (six weeks in total), where they receive a mix of practical training and classroom theory, as well as take part in a variety of field trips and personal development workshops.
Casting the net
Tait said that the program has created a pathway for those who may not have ordinarily found their way into the industry.
“I think that’s the case. Some of them may have found other pathways in, but some of them may not. There are forks in the road that appear in life, and programs like Fast Track help with that,” he said.
“It has helped facilitate an entry into the industry from people that may have not otherwise found their way in.”
The practical upshot for Tait and the team at Twin Hills has been the addition of two new staff, Lauryn Hall and Sarah Miller, who both came through the Fast Track Program.
“We have had two of them people that have come through have ended up still working for us. We were very pleased to offer them jobs at the end of their programs and they contribute greatly for our business,” he said.
“We have had two of them people that have come through have ended up still working for us. We were very pleased to offer them jobs at the end of their programs and they contribute greatly for our business.” – Olly Tait
“As I said, people are at the core of the business and the better the people are, the better the business will run. We are delighted that we have been able to be involved the way we have.”
A national opportunity
Trainees have been placed on farms in Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland, with farms interested in conducting placement for cadets urged to contact TBA.
Sam Hayes from Cornerstone Stud took is his first trainee in 2021 and said he was keen to continue his farm’s involvement.
“Giving young people a pathway to enter our industry has never been more important over the past couple of years. We have had a great experience with Fast Track this season and look forward to welcoming more students to the farm in the future,” he said.
“Giving young people a pathway to enter our industry has never been more important over the past couple of years.” – Sam Hayes
Thoroughbred Breeders Australia chief executive, Tom Reilly, said the 2022 Fast Track intake would continue to build on the string progress made in the first four years of the program.
“Our aim is to bring in people who have horse experience but little exposure to thoroughbreds, however in each year so far we have taken on somebody with no hands-on horse experience but who has shown a real interest in our industry. Perhaps surprisingly, those trainees have done really well,” he said.
“The program has proved its success with 90 per cent of graduates still working in the industry, so it’s exciting to start the process of finding our next recruits.”
Those interested in applying are asked to go to the TBA website or email firstname.lastname@example.org.