A Great Way to Gain Industry Experience
While I don’t have any direct background in horse racing, it was hard to escape the racing fever hailing from Bagenalstown, Co.Carlow. I grew up attending race meetings with my grandfather Eddie who was a racing fanatic having spent the early part of his life working as an Army Officer in the Curragh.
Although I had been a regular to tracks like Gowran Park, Punchestown and the Curragh all before the age of ten, it wasn’t until I was 12 years old that my interest in the industry began to accelerate. When Hedgehunter won the Grand National in 2004 he gave local trainer Willie Mullins his first Aintree Grand National and captured the imagination of the whole local area and community of Bagenalstown. His victory brought everybody out to pay tribute in the market square, a day I’ll never forget.I am currently studying Media and Public Relations at the Institute Of Technology Carlow and as a result I feel I came into HRI’s internship programme from a slightly different angle than the rest of the interns. When I left school I started working with Bambury Bookmakers, where I stayed for almost four years. I loved every minute of it there, watching racing every day, studying the sport, and attending race meetings in my free time. I soon progressed within the company, occupying roles such as Tele-Betting operator, Graphic Designer, Digital Marketing Executive, and Studio Broadcaster. In 2016, at the age of 24, I decided to return to education and I completed a Diploma in Digital Marketing and Strategy from DBS along with starting my Degree in Media and PR.I first saw HRI’s internship advertised on Twitter and I decided to look into it in more detail. I found the blogs from previous interns a good guide as to what to expect and so without hesitation I sent off my application. Realising how fantastic an opportunity the programme was, along with being the perfect stepping stone in both experience and timing in my career, I was thrilled to get the phone call off Paddy Ryan in CARE offering me a place.CARE has been in operation since January 2016 and is responsible for ensuring that everyone who is working in the racing industry in Ireland has access to training opportunities and support services should they wish to avail of them. It also aims to provide information on education and training opportunities to people who might be interested in pursuing a career in the industry via the www.workinracing.ie website. Increasing awareness of the website and the CARE department using social media channels is my main goal.My tasks so far have included assisting with the promotion of the key initiatives such as the Industry Assistance Programme (IAP) which is a free, confidential support service that is open to everyone in the racing industry, the Education and Training Grant which will make a contribution of up to €1,000 towards the cost of any course or training programme for stud staff, stable staff, or jockeys. I also worked on promoting the Exercise Riders Training Course which commences in RACE on the 31st of July. Working on promoting these programmes has given me a great opportunity to showcase, and further develop, my skillset in areas such as content production, social media marketing, website maintenance and graphic design.Paddy has been very friendly and helpful to me since I’ve started, I’m very grateful for the responsibility he has given me, in particular with the Graphic Design jobs. I’m proud of the design work I’ve completed, designing Facebook, Twitter, and newspaper adverts along with posters and business cards for the separate CARE initiatives.For the rest of the internship I will primarily be working on updating and creating new content for the www.workinracing.com website, we would really like to get blogs from past pupils of the 30 or so equine courses which are featured on the site. This will be a healthy challenge but should allow me to reach out, communicate and meet plenty of people working within the industry which is great. Highlights of my internship to date have been our trip to the Irish National Stud, working at race days in Fairyhouse and Leopardstown, and spending a day in the Entries and Declarations Department with Martin Murphy who showed me how the whole process works.
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