Win-Win: Creating New Careers With Horses

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© Courtesy of the Ontario Harness Horses Association

You’ll see a lot of sunrises in this line of work, both literally and figuratively speaking.
The individuals you care for can be demanding and giving all at the same time. They’ll test you in ways that only a 900-pound toddler can. If patience is a muscle, you may feel Herculean at the end of some days—equal workouts for your heart, too.

Working with horses can be a challenging and rewarding career. In 2020, there were 17,500 pet groomers and animal care workers employed in Ontario.

The horse racing and breeding sectors alone contribute $2.3 billion annually to Ontario’s economy but continue to face a shortage of workers. Grooms and caretakers are fundamental to the health, welfare, and safety of the horses and therefore are critical to the success of this important agricultural industry.

The Ontario Equine Education and Employment Program (OEEEP) is working to fill this gap. This free program offers the chance for anyone with a passion for animals and hands-on learning to become a part of Ontario’s billion-dollar horse industry.

The OEEEP provides free instruction through an eight-week virtual interactive training course where participants will learn from industry experts. Participants will discover a range of career paths within the equine industry, including administrative and creative roles (marketing, promotion, public relations, content creation, etc.). 

Each participant will receive a local job placement at the end of the program. No previous experience with horse handling is required to enroll in the program.

For employers, the program provides trained staff for entry-level positions, wage subsidies, and up to $1,000 per hire.

This program is made possible with the support of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Government, which supports agricultural and equine industries and recognizes the vast value of this sector and its many (primarily rural) jobs. The support of Premier Doug Ford and Minister of Labour Monte McNaughton has been critical in its creation and evolution.

“Our horse industry is something everyone in our province should take pride in, but many farms, racetracks and training centres are having difficulty finding workers with the skills they need,” said Minister McNaughton. “This investment will ensure these growing businesses can find the talent they need while connecting local people with training for careers they can take pride in.”

The network of partnerships includes the VPI Inc. (Employment Services), the University of Guelph (Equine Guelph) and the Ontario Harness Horse Association.

The OEEEP is an excellent representation of what can be achieved when government, educational institutions and trade organizations work together to address challenges with creative solutions.

For the OEEEP students and employers, the program facilitates a win-win scenario that provides trained employees for roles that are waiting to be filled (and fulfilled).

Interested participants can sign up at www.vpi-inc.com/equine
Potential employers should contact [email protected]

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Start a career in the Horse Industry

 

This FREE program offers you a chance to become a part of Ontario’s billion-dollar horse industry. Learn more about the care and welfare of horses and gain valuable industry experience in this interactive training course.

  • 8-week virtual training course.
  • Learn from industry experts.
  • Discover different career paths.
  • Job placement at the end of your program.
 

This is a great opportunity for anyone with a passion for animals and hands-on learning. No previous experience with horse handling required.

New sessions begin year-round. Space is limited. Sign up today!

Eligibility and Suitability

Successful participants will meet the following eligibility and suitability criteria:

  • PASSION/INTEREST in working with/caring for horses
  • Unemployed or underemployed
  • Not in full time education/training
  • 18+ years of age
  • Ontario resident and legally entitled to work in Ontario

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