Swatpro: Absolute's new Apprenticeship is a racing certainty
Dogged persistence is a great attribute for all successful Apprentices, but at one training partner in the Swatpro family, persistence with dogs is just as important.
Taunton-based Absolute Training Services has been drawing on more than 50 years of combined experience in training of its founders, brother and sister Gavin and Nyc Whitworth.
Absolute deals in numerous sectors, offering bespoke training for health and social care, customer services, and in management and leadership disciplines, but recently Nyc's experience with animal welfare training has taken the company in a new direction.
While it still works in its existing sectors, a new venture involved helping develop a new Level 2 Animal Care & Welfare Assistant Apprenticeship with the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB).
The GBGB, who are the governing body for licensed greyhound racing in England, Scotland and Wales, were looking at developing a qualification that could attract fresh young talent into the industry, as well as ensuring the very highest level of animal care and welfare standards.
The body has been working extremely hard, for some years to raise welfare and integrity standards, particularly for its canine stars.
"It was tremendously interesting to work together with GBGB on this brand-new Standard," says Gavin.
"Welfare was the foremost consideration, so it was nice to be part of something that really makes a difference," he adds.
Absolute is shepherding the first cohort of 10 Apprentices through the new qualification.
The trainees, who are based with various training kennels and tracks, particularly at Nottingham and Romford, are learning all aspects of animal husbandry, including first aid for greyhounds, safety and handling skills.
"There's been a real interest in this Apprenticeship from trainers and tracks," Gavin says. "Getting more young people involved has been an aim for GBGB and we were happy to help."
The first Apprentices should complete their End Point Assessment and qualify in 2020, with some already expressing an interest in going on to work towards a Level 4 Animal Trainer qualification.
"The good thing with the Level 2 Standard is it gives Apprentices skills that can be used in all sorts of different animal-based occupations," Gavin notes.
One of Absolute's Apprentices recently showed those skills when he won the prestigious Betfred Kennel hand of the Year award.
Nathan Hunt is assistant to trainer Phil Simmonds from Romford.
The award praises Nathan's work ethic and the kennels commented: "He is so caring to all the dogs in his care and nothing is too much for him."
Bespoke, made-for-the-industry-with-the-industry training is what Swatpro partners are all about, and Absolute have certainly been first out of the traps with their latest venture!
Find out more about Swatpro training via our website: http://www.swatpro.org.uk/