National Trainers Federation announces opening of nominations for the inaugural Lycetts Team Champion Award

Publication of the winning approach, a new industry standard for staff management both supported by a management training module with a proven track record

  •  New award will showcase yards where staff management promotes a team ethos
  • New industry standard for staff management aims to support retention of racing staff and demonstrate positive management approach by trainers in Britain
  • Management training module to strengthen leadership and sustainable business practices
  • All three initiative supported by The Racing Foundation

The National Trainers Federation (NTF) is pleased to announce that the window for nominations is now open for the Lycetts Team Champion Award – a new award in British horseracing. The closing date is Friday 1st December.

Lycetts Team Champion Award has been created to celebrate the training yards that have a strong team ethos. The Lycetts Team Champion mission is to showcase the positive results of developing a team that works well together, spread the message about safe working practices, and improve recruitment and retention rates by promoting the most successful ways in which racehorse trainers manage their staff and encouraging wider adoption of those practices.

An explanation of the process and the nomination form are available on the NTF website at . These will also be sent to trainers by post this week.

Lycetts Team Champion Award has two categories – for trainers with 40 horses or more; and for trainers with fewer than 40 horses. The winning yard in each category will receive £4000 to be spent in a way that enhances the team. Teams scoring above given points thresholds will achieve recognition through a grading system and have the right to use a bespoke logo to promote their business.

The winners will be announced at the NTF’s Annual General Meeting on Thursday 22nd February 2018.

The Winning Approach

The questions in the award nomination form are drawn from The Winning Approach, a new industry standard for the best ways to engage and motivate staff in racing yards. Consultants Sport & Beyond were instrumental in its development and it is based on research showing that, if implemented, this standard can maximise retention.

Many trainers are already operating in ways that meet The Winning Approach standard. Rather than having to develop new ways of working, The Winning Approach will allow them to recognise that many of their informal practices, regimes and routines already go towards meeting the standard, which provides clear guidance on ways to implement:

  1. Effective recruitment and induction systems
  2. A safe environment
  3. A positive working environment
  4. Development and Training of the team
  5. Reward and Recognition

Building a Sustainable Business

Trainers looking for support with the award have the opportunity with their senior staff to attend a free management training module created for the NTF by Peter Burnet of The Peplow Group. With the title ‘Building a Sustainable Business’ the module is about sharing ideas, tips and support to match the team award criteria. It will take place at three venues this autumn/winter: Newmarket on 26th October, Lambourn on 2nd November and Middleham on 21st November.

Rupert Arnold, Chief Executive of the NTF, said, “It is important for the NTF, as the body supporting employers, to take a lead role in initiatives to tackle staff shortages. The workplace is our main focus and the Team Champion Award integrates with several projects we are working on relating to management practices and employee engagement for racing grooms and riders.

“We are looking for ways to recognise how trainers and their staff acting as a team develop the foundations for a successful racing stable. Team Champion aims to encourage wider adoption of those ways of working and celebrate the stables that do it well.”

Lycetts, a leading insurance broker specialising in the protection of all types of equine businesses, is supporting the award with prize money funding and promotion. Lycetts sees the award as the perfect way of raising awareness of safe working practices that will lead to a significant reduction in the risk of workplace injuries.

Piers Plunket Associate Director at Lycetts, said: “Racehorse trainers and their staff make a great contribution to the world of British horseracing and we want to shine a spotlight on all the hard work that is carried out on these yards.

“Our mission is to instil a sense of achievement in the best managed yards, as well as showcase the positive results of developing a team that works well together. In addition, we see the award as the perfect way of raising awareness of safe working practices to help reduce the risk of workplace injuries.”

Welcoming the award, trainer Dan Kubler said, “As the old saying goes happy people make for happy horses. Teamwork is the foundation of our success on the racecourse. Although the nature of working with animals presents certain challenges Claire and I work very hard to create an environment where the team can thrive, as do many of our colleagues in the training ranks. It’s great to see the introduction of this award and the standards that recognise the efforts of trainers and their staff working together. Hopefully it will highlight the great working environment of many racing yards and continue to improve the industry as a whole.

Stud and Stable Staff Award winner Laura Winstanley commented, “I really like the concept of this award as I think it will encourage trainers to look into developing a Human Resources-type role in their yards. It is an important development looking to the future and will help to promote our working conditions, which are favourable to other equine industries, and help to further employment in our industry.”

The Racing Foundation’s support has been crucial to the three initiatives described above. Its baseline survey into recruitment and retention has informed their development and without its generous grant, the projects would not be taking place.

Rob Hezel, Chief Executive of The Racing Foundation said, “Thanks to the substantial input from trainers, the survey we commissioned at the end of last year helped build a clearer picture of the progress being made and the challenges we continue to face regarding the recruitment and retention of stable staff. It highlighted the vital role employers can play in encouraging training and development to improve both skills and retention.

“We fully support the initiatives being developed by the NTF, which will enable trainers to provide a pro-active response to staffing issues and hope that as many trainers as possible are able to attend one of the training sessions later in the year.”