Equine course graduate works at Grand National Festival

When Matt Beale wanted a change in career and decided to join a free course in work-based horse care, little did he know that just weeks later he would be working at the world famous Grand National Festival for one of the UK’s top racing stables.

At the start of the year, Matt, aged 32, was working in the logistics industry but on Saturday he was at Aintree preparing horses for the day’s prestigious races.

Matt found work after graduating from an equine management training course which had been set up with £500,000 funding from the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).

The innovative course, which is being delivered at Solihull Riding Club, has been set up to help tackle significant labour shortages within the equine industry.

Matt said: “I’d only ever watched the Grand National on the television before, but with it being one of the biggest races in the world, it was an absolute honour to go there. It was a very significant moment for me.

“I completed the course and was successful in getting a job and it has all just fallen together perfectly."

“I had always worked in the logistics industry before joining the equine management course. But being someone who has always had a passion for nature, the outdoors and animals, I decided it was time for a career change after seeing the equine management course come up at the job centre.

“I completed the course and was successful in getting a job and it has all just fallen together perfectly. Being able to work with horses on a grassroots level and on a day-to-day basis is really exciting and I’m really enjoying my new role.”

Providing extensive equestrian knowledge and practical skills, the course gives participants everything they need to know about horse management including handling, equine health, and stable design. 

It is open to a wide range of people and provides specialist support to help ex-offenders, veterans, the homeless and residents who are long-term unemployed develop the skills they need to find work in the equine industry.

Dr Julie Nugent, WMCA’s Executive Director for Economic Delivery, Skills and Communities, said: “I want to congratulate Matt on landing the role with Milton Harris Racing and getting the chance to work at the prestigious Grand National Festival.

“Stories such as Matt’s are a testament to why the WMCA works hard to fund a variety of courses across the West Midlands and create opportunities for people to land gainful employment.”

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