Cover image courtesy of Thoroughbred Breeders Australia
Written by Jackson Frantz
On a week where the latest graduates of Thoroughbred Breeders Australia’s Fast Track Program were acknowledged at a ceremony held in Scone, Kitchwin Hills Stud Manager Mick Malone had time to reflect on the success his farm has had with students from the program.
Launched in 2018 by TBA in collaboration with TAFE NSW, Fast Track is designed to bring new workers into the breeding industry via a structured pathway.
Over the past 12 months, a group of eight students have studied a Certificate III in Horse Breeding while completing full-time traineeships with Kitchwin Hills and other leading stud farms such as Godolphin, Vinery, Widden, Segenhoe and Twin Hills.
“The rate of kids who are put through Fast Track that go on to stay in the industry is something like 92 per cent, it’s amazing. These young people have been through a process and they are driven to achieve, this isn’t just another job to them,” Malone told TDN AusNZ.
“In the interview process, they (Fast Track) talk them through everything so there are no surprises. The kids are told they have to work every second weekend, that the hours are long and that there is a lot of pressure involved.”
“In the interview process, they (Fast Track) talk them through everything so there are no surprises. The kids are told they have to work every second weekend, that the hours are long and that there is a lot of pressure involved.” - Mick Malone
The third intake of the Fast Track Program graduated in a ceremony held at Scone on Tuesday night.
Malone said the night was well put together and a fantastic acknowledgment of what each individual had achieved over a 12-month period.
“It’s so good what they do, full credit to Cecelia (O’Gorman) and Tom (Reilly) they’ve done an amazing job and they make these kids feel special and remind them that this is a career and not just a job. I haven’t seen anything like that in our game, ever,” Malone said.
“Sometimes it feels like you have to be born into the industry to get into it, but you don’t and Fast Track are pointing out that there are big opportunities in this industry.
“So, I can’t do enough for Fast Track, these kids that come through just want it so bad and just do so good.”
Malone’s positive experience with the program has seen him take on two eager trainees this year.
Malone believes the program is a fantastic opportunity for passionate young people of any background to forge their way into the breeding and racing industry.
He said each individual that he has worked with will go on to achieve great things within the industry.
“Alyssa Pickels was the first girl we had, and she was just brilliant, she is now on the Irish National Stud course and was runner-up twice in the Godolphin (Stud and Stable Staff) Newcomer Award and she will no doubt end up in a management role somewhere,” Malone said.
“Joel (Kelly), another young guy just got a job at Gerald Ryan’s stables and he will end up a horse trainer I’m just sure.
“And young Tom (Giles) who we had recently turned up and had never put a head collar on a horse or touched one and I’m sure he will do very well too in a management-type role.”