Cadetship program helping to bolster staff shortages

3 min read

On February 8, 23 students from all states of Australia including remote areas of the Northern Territory and Queensland, will enter the 2021 edition of the Explorer Cadetship Program, and begin their journey towards securing their dream job in the thoroughbred industry.

The Explorer Cadetship is the only entry-level education program of its kind in the world, covering both the breeding and racing sectors to give people a holistic view of the industry. Over the last two years, 65 students have been through Thoroughbred Industry Careers (TIC) programs with an 89% retention rate in the industry.

Since the program’s inception, leading racing stables and stud farms have benefited from it, with various students now among their highly valued full-time staff, and at a time when staff shortages are impacting the industry, this program is proving invaluable.

Champion trainer Chris Waller is a great advocate and said: “This program has raised my awareness as to how a well-run learning program can quickly influence an industry.

“I have been overwhelmed by the level of professionalism and dedication shown by the students of this cadetship. This is quite simply a very important step forward in the racing industry and will no doubt be followed by other industries with critical staff shortages,” he said.

One of the graduates of the Explorer Cadetship Program now working in his dream job is Leigh Allen.

From a non-horse background, but a passionate racing person with a degree in communications, Leigh gained essential horsemanship skills that have since enabled him to secure a key role with Ciaron Maher Racing (CMR) in Victoria.

He regularly attends race meetings around the state, is the official spokesperson for the stable two days per week and is also responsible for compiling horse updates for clients.

“A great part about this program is that people wanting to work in the industry without a horse background aren’t excluded. I wasn’t lucky enough to grow up with horses, but after a year working hands-on with them at Godolphin’s Northwood Park and in the stable for CMR, I now have a solid understanding of thoroughbreds and the industry, which is imperative for my role.

“Now I get to take videos of Enthaar and I have to pinch myself,” said Leigh.

The program focuses not only on horsemanship but also life skills and manners with Hall of Fame trainer Gai Waterhouse having conducted some of these classes herself.

“Gai leaves an impact on everyone she meets, so for young people just starting out to spend time with her, it is an honour and a privilege”, remarked TIC CEO Lindy Maurice.

The program begins with a three-month practical and theoretical learning block in Richmond, NSW, whilst students live-in at Western Sydney University (Richmond Campus).

At the end of the three months, each student is assigned to a leading trainer where they spend 4.5 months on their first paid work experience in a racing stable, followed by 4.5 months on a leading stud farm.

Mentoring and guidance continue after graduation to help students find suitable opportunities in areas of particular interest to them.

TIC Chief Executive and founder Lindy Maurice is proud of what the program has been achieved to date and is thankful for the support from TIC’s sponsors which make this all possible.

For further information and interviews please contact:

Lindy Maurice on 0488 066 604 or