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Linda Ammonn CBE and Ian stark OBE (Patron) at the launch of SkillHORSE at Equus 2002

SkillHORSE - Launched At Equus 2002

SkillHORSE was launched at Equus 2002 and is the new national showcase event for skills in the horse industry. The launch included presentations by Ian Stark OBE, SkillHORSE Patron and Linda Ammonn CBE, Chief Executive of UK Skills.

The aims of SkillHORSE are to promote vocational skills in the horse industry, to recognise and celebrate the achievement of those working in the industry and to raise standards. It will involve competitions, displays by leading riders and "have-a-go" activities for visitors. Ian Stark outlined the key purpose of SkillHORSE "We hope to encourage young people to seriously consider working with horses as a career option and not just a hobby ......... SkillHORSE will enable young people to have a go at practical skills, meet people working in the industry and see the excellence that can be achieved".

Linda Ammonn CBE described The Skills Show to be held at Salford Quays, Manchester from 13-16 November 2002. "UK Skills are delighted to be associated with SkillHORSE. The Skills Show will be a four-day celebration of skills from at least seventy different industries, featuring skills competitions and demonstrations, "have-a-go" opportunities, workshops and master classes, careers advice and conferences" 100,000 visitors are expected to attend the event over the four days, the vast majority of whom will be young people coming from schools to learn more about their future careers.

Leading riders and key professionals with an interest in promoting the horse industry has brought SkillHORSE together. Stubbing Court Combined Training Group, a leading provider of Work Based Learning for young people working with horses, initiated the competition with support from Derbyshire Learning and Skills Council.

The inaugural event at SkillHORSE will be held at The skills Show. Those eligible to compete are young people on Work Based Learning programmes supported by the Learning and Skills Council working towards NVQ Level 3 in Horse Care and Management, or those who have achieved NVQ Level 3 no earlier than June 2002. Nominations for SkillHORSE are requested before 30 June with a maximum of two nominees per provider. Assessment days will be held in October 2002 at Southern and Northern venues. Twenty four students will be selected to compete at The Skills Show.

The finals of SkillHORSE at SkillCity will consist of four days of activity. Eight students will compete per day for the first three days and the best two each day will qualify for the final day. Examples of activities that will be assessed include practical tasks such as fitting tack and equipment, health care, feeding, lungeing, flatwork and jumping. Students will also be interviewed by leading riders on aspects of horse care and yard management.

Belinda Turner, Chair of SkillHORSE is delighted with the support shown so far and explained the next steps "A letter from Bryan Sanderson, Chair of the Learning and Skills Council, has been sent to all providers requesting their support for the venture and the forthcoming sponsorship opportunities for the event" Organisations requiring more information should contact Belinda Turner on 01246 566193