Young Professional Programme welcomes second cohort

  • Written By: British Dressage
  • Published: Tue, 06 Nov 2018 11:47

The class of 2018/19 has been inducted by British Equestrian Federation (BEF) on to the Young Professional Programme, funded by Sport England.

The 12-month programme, launched in 2017, aims is to help young riders build a wider skill-set to support their personal and career development, enabling them to thrive and earn a living in the equestrian industry and transition out of the youth development pathway.

The programme is delivered in collaboration with British Dressage, British Eventing and British Showjumping and features a series of interactive workshops, with the athletes benefiting from the expertise of business mentors from their sport and high profile speakers covering a range of topics.

The first interactive workshop was held at Stoneleigh Park on 29 October where the inducted athletes met their mentors as well as dressage rider, Amy Schiessl, who was part of the first group of Young Professionals 2017-18, who explained how the programme had helped shape the way she now runs her business.

Head of Performance Pathways at the BEF, David Hamer commented: “An overarching theme with young athletes starting up an equestrian business is their love of horses and horse sport. However, to be able to earn a living requires not only the knowledge of the financial and legal aspects of a running a business, it also requires a personal skill set to deal with the many challenges they will encounter with their business day-to-day. This series of workshops are designed to help them to run a business and also gain skills that will also help their overall personal and professional development”.

After a brief introduction to the programme by David Hamer, the athletes had a keynote presentation from Kirsty Henshaw. Kirsty was the youngest entrepreneur at 23 years-old to receive investment from the BBC Dragons Den when she appeared on the show in 2010 with her range of healthy and free-from ice creams. Kirsty described her journey form starting in her kitchen to developing her business to where today it turns over £6m and is valued at over £8m.

Kirsty commented; "Whilst the business has evolved, the aim and vision of the company remain unchanged. I have learned from my mistakes and seized opportunities as they arose. Starting a business is both challenging and exciting, but the hard work will pay off if you stick with it and believe in what you do”.

Professor Tony Ghaye and Jane Mawdlsey from the English Institute of Sport then set the scene for the programme in the afternoon workshop with the first personal development planning session.

Flora Young, an eventer selected on to the programme said: “When I saw the programme advertised online I thought it was something different to a lot of other programmes that were on offer. There’s so much concentration on the riding side but there is not so much offered on how to operate a business in the equestrian industry. This programme gives me a great opportunity to learn more.

“It was really interesting meeting people from different disciplines who I wouldn’t have usually met and who are in a similar position to me. We got to listen to some great speakers and meet our mentors and I can’t wait for the next workshop.”

The BEF Young Professional Programme includes eight workshops in total, running until summer 2019.

Young Professionals selected on to the programme are as followed by discipline:

Joseph Bright, Laura Woodcock, Lucy Amy, Megan Roberts, Nathan Aston, Victoria Maw

Charlotte East, Dickon Reader, Flora Young, Freddie Best, Greta Mason, Laura Schroter, Lucy Robinson, Ollie Martin

Ellen McPherson