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Lantra receives five-year "licence to skill" UK's equine industry

The UK's equine industry received a boost last week, when Sector Skills Council, Lantra, was awarded a five-year licence from the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, Rt Hon Charles Clarke MP. This significant achievement acknowledges the hard work that employers, trade associations and Lantra staff have put in to developing Lantra as a Sector Skills Council. The licence will enable Lantra to continue leading the drive to increase skills across the equine industry.

A number of equine employers joined other representatives from the 17 environmental and land-based industries that Lantra represents, to celebrate Lantra's achievement at a VIP reception and skills debate at the House of Commons on Tuesday 29 June.

TV presenter Nick Ross hosts skills debate The award of the licence was marked by a skills debate hosted by TV presenter Nick Ross, which gave equine employers nd industry representatives the opportunity to have their say on the skills issues that are affecting their industries. An interactive voting system meant some fast answers to inform the debate and to guide the Lantra management on what the industry expects of them.

The debate covered many key issues relating to the needs of micro-businesses and sole traders, which predominate in the sector. In particular, the need to upskill employers and improve management skills were discussed.

Equine employers show support
Helen Gallop*, of Gloucestershire's Summerhouse Equitation Centre, found the skills debate interesting and insightful, and was pleased that key issues such as training, communication and the need to encourage young people into the industry were discussed.

Phil Clark*, General Manager of Hinckley Equestrian Centre, also attended the event. "This is a real opportunity to move forward and let industries know what Lantra is about and what they can do for them", he said. "There has been a real battle to get people who matter interested in the horse industry and I now feel the people that matter are starting to take notice."

Lantra's Equine Industry Group has played a key role in shaping and forming Lantra's strategic direction to meet the needs of the industry and the sector as a whole. Chaired by Helen Gallop, the group comprises employers and representatives from across the equine industry.

Ministerial backing for the industry
Both Rt Hon Charles Clarke MP and Rt Hon Alun Michael, Minister for Rural Affairs, spoke at the event. Rt Hon Charles Clarke MP acknowledged the hard work and commitment from employers, industry representatives and Lantra: "I really congratulate Lantra and all that have worked with you to reach this tremendous moment - the establishment of Lantra as a full Sector Skills Council."

Recognising many of the challenges facing businesses in the sector, he continued: "I think the commitment to the skills agenda is tremendously important as a method of controlling the process of change, influencing it and making change happen to benefit communities, rather than simply being victims of it."

Lantra Chairman, Dr Gordon McGlone, said: "To have two ministers - Charles Clarke and Alun Michael - supporting the award of our five-year licence shows just how much government values our industry and recognises the need to improve our skills. Now it is over to the industry to show it values the opportunities it has been given."

Clarification of Lantra's role
At the event, Lantra clarified that it is not a provider of training, but a strategic body with responsibility for providing a crucial link between employers, training providers and government on skills issues. One of Lantra's key roles is to work in partnership with training providers to align training with real learning needs, listening to employers to identify their skills and recruitment problems, and working with industry to address them.

Lantra continues to develop qualification frameworks and innovative new learning technologies, to ensure that the learning options available suit the needs of employers. Lantra acts independently of government, and is able to actively respond on behalf of employers to government consultations that affect equine businesses.

Continuing employer commitment
A message emerging from the whole event was the continuing need for employers to voice their skills needs so that Lantra continues to be an effective employer led organisation.

Chairman Gordon McGlone said: "We are at the beginning of a new era in which the voices of employers working in the sector are heard louder than ever - and not just heard, but taken notice of."

To find out more about Lantra and its work for the equine industry, visit


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