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Jake’s passion leads to new career pathway

A “passion for racing” has led Jake West to tackle a comprehensive, year-long program – part sponsored by Thoroughbred Racing South Australia (TRSA) – aimed at ushering in the next generation of industry participants.

From February 8 Jake will immerse himself in the Explorer Cadetship Program, a stable and horsemanship initiative that gives participants a taste of all facets of the industry, enabling them to make informed choices about their career pathways.

A TAFE-based boot camp will kick-start the program, before participants spend time at a racing stable, and finally a stud.

TRSA fully funds the boot camp and 23-year-old Jake says he “can’t wait” to get started.

“I was previously working for the government, up in Port Augusta, and my partner, Felicity Atkinson, is an apprentice jockey,” Jake explained.

“Seeing her family up there – her father, Robbie, trains up there – is how I got involved. I thought this would be a good step to see the rest of the industry.”

Jake will move to NSW and front up for the program’s first day at the University of Sydney’s Richmond campus.

“That’s the boot camp part of the program where we learn the basics, like learning how to handle horses, and that kind of stuff,” he said.

Jake was previously a stable hand for Robbie Atkinson, but has left his occupation with Services Australia to take on the program. He is now looking forward to expanding his industry knowledge, with an eye to the future.

“I’m excited to see the bigger picture, but that also includes bits I’ve never seen before,” he said.

“I’ve got a real passion for the racing industry, so I’m a little bit nervous, but excited to see what the next 12 months holds.”

During their placements, cadets learn from a number of leading employers, including Chris Waller, Gai Waterhouse or South Australia’s McEvoy-Mitchell Racing.


Details of the Explorer Cadetship Program include:

Part One: Boot Camp
During Boot Camp, program participants will be taught the basics of attending to and handling thoroughbreds in stables and at trackwork, riding thoroughbreds (tailored to suit varying abilities), health and safety of self and others, career opportunities in the thoroughbred industry, ethics and rules of racing, stud operations and quarantine procedures, pedigrees and conformation of thoroughbreds and more.

Part Two: Racing stable placement
Participants commence their first months of paid work-placement with a leading racing stable, gaining valuable hands-on experience and insight into the racing industry.

Part Three: Stud farm placement
Participants start their next stage of paid work-placement with a leading stud farm, learning all aspects of the care and management of breeding stock including mares, foals and stallions, preparing yearlings for sale and the mating process.

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