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Horses for courses

Photo - AgriFutures Australia

By Tina Seirlis

Young adults in the early stages of their career in either the thoroughbred or racing industries have the opportunity to accelerate their learning with the scholarship of a lifetime.

Applications are now open for the inaugural Les Young Scholarship which is supported by the AgriFutures Thoroughbred Horses Program. The scholarship honours the late Les Young who spent his life committed to the thoroughbred industry and was known as a well-respected industry all-rounder. In addition to holding roles as a founding member of the Equine Advisory Committee, a leader on the NSW Breeders’ Association, and a past president and life member of the Federation of Bloodstock Agents of Australia, Mr Young still found time to invest in mentoring young people that showed interest in the racing and thoroughbred breeding industries.

One scholarship is available nationally each year and the successful candidate will receive funding and support via a paid international placement in either the United Kingdom or at the Irish National Stud with studies commencing January 2024.

Speaking to The Moorabool News, Annelies McGaw, Program Manager for the Thoroughbred Horses Program shared that the role of young people in agricultural industries is vital.

“We are looking for a passionate young person in the thoroughbred breeding or racing industry. We want someone who is looking for the next step in their career but are also willing to help achieve industry-wide goals,” she said.

“There are industry-wide challenges and opportunities, and we are looking for someone who understands these and is willing to help the industry remain resilient and sustainable.”

AgriFutures Australia, which is based in Wagga Wagga and runs the Thoroughbred Horses Program, is one of 15 research and development corporations that service the needs of Australia’s rural industries. According to AgriFutures Australia the Australian thoroughbred breeding industry is the second biggest globally and generates more than $1.16 billion towards our economy each year.

To be eligible for the scholarship, applicants must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident aged between 18 and 25 years old, with a minimum of two years’ industry experience, and have been with their current empower for at least one year.

Ms McGaw recommends that applicants should think about who they can secure letters of support from.

“One needs to be from your current employee and one needs to be from a prominent member of the industry,” she said.

Applicants must also answer a series of questions demonstrating their interest and passion for the industry, along with their resume.

Ms McGaw concluded that this is the next step for anyone who has been in the thoroughbred breeding or racing industry for a few years.

“This scholarship will not only give you an amazing opportunity to go overseas, but to also learn skills from the best.”

The 2023 Les Young Scholarship applications close on Monday 14 August and further information can be found by searching for the Les Young Scholarship on the AgriFutures Australia website.