Salaries paid by Equine Colleges

sport horse

Well-Known Member
Joined
23 January 2002
Messages
1,944
Visit site
I was very surprised today to read an advert by an equine college for a yard groom of BHS Stage 2/NVQ level 2 with a wage of £8.72/hour. I wonder who in the commercial equestrian world could afford to pay this level of salary for that standard of employee and be able to pass that on to liveries/riding school clients? Please do not forget that the employer has NI to pay on top, 28 days holiday pa, Employers Liability Insurance etc etc so the cost out to clients will be considerably higher.

I totally accept that working with horses is hard work and deserves good pay, but the new Living Wage is only £7.20 per hour and in my world Level 2 is not particularly highly qualified.

Where do Equine Colleges gain their income? The tax payer?
 

Rollin

Well-Known Member
Joined
10 March 2008
Messages
4,779
Visit site
We always pay our lads, in France, above minimum wage and give them a pay rise if they do a good job. We are pensioners and a GOOD lad/groom is worth paying more. Our employers contribution in France is approx double what we would pay in the UK.
 

spacefaer

Well-Known Member
Joined
3 March 2009
Messages
5,763
Location
Shropshire
Visit site
That (very roughly) works out at £16k pa before tax.

I looked at working at a college, as a lecturer. With an MSc and BHSI qualifications, my starting salary would have been between £18-22k.

Barely worth my years of experience and study!
 

Batgirl

Well-Known Member
Joined
4 February 2011
Messages
3,190
Location
Yaaaarkshire
Visit site
Perhaps from good management, fees paid by students etc etc. We pay well above minimum wage, well worth it to reduce turnover and value staff.
 

sport horse

Well-Known Member
Joined
23 January 2002
Messages
1,944
Visit site
It is actually £16,784pa for a 37 hour week for a NVQ level 2. I would not leave someone of that qualification in my yard unsupervised. What I question is whether in UK (I cannot answer for France) a livery would be willing to pay the fee needed to cover such a salary. Elsewhere on this forum at present is a thread regarding the time to muck out etc and the general feeling is that to turn out, muck out, water and fill a haynet would take a half hour. If you then provide a catch in, change rugs and feed service I would think a weekly wage bill would be £70 minimum to cover YO costs, then add feed, hay cost of yard and buildings etc etc an average livery, without exercise is going to be well over £120pw and that would not even provide a profit margin. Not many yards in UK can charge this level of fees if they are a commercial enterprise.
I would think it is not worth getting extra qualification as spacefaer said.
 

GemG

Well-Known Member
Joined
9 January 2014
Messages
707
Visit site
That (very roughly) works out at £16k pa before tax.

I looked at working at a college, as a lecturer. With an MSc and BHSI qualifications, my starting salary would have been between £18-22k.

Barely worth my years of experience and study!

Absolutely correct.

I have studied for equine related qualifications upto and inc degree level and eventually left the horse industry as I couldn't stick the low wages (although above min wage etc) - still not enough. I wish things didn't come down to £ . But when you want to 'grow up', get a mortgage, have a family, horses and a decent lifestyle without working a 6 day week, then sometimes you have to look outside the 'equine' box.

There's no way I would consider working as a lecturer or similar for £18-22k ish either.
 
Last edited:

sport horse

Well-Known Member
Joined
23 January 2002
Messages
1,944
Visit site
I merely raised the topic to highlight that a government funded college pays an NVQ level 2 Groom £16784 (to gain your NVQ you need to leave school with nothing more than an adequate GCSE in English & Maths but even if you do not have this you can 'catch up' and a one year apprenticeship will see you qualified) whereas a Junior doctor after taking A levels and requiring very, very top grades can spend five years in Medical School for the very same government to offer a starting salary of £22,800.
Of course any private employer can pay what they feel their staff justify but it does not seem that the public sector has got it quite right.
 

SO1

Well-Known Member
Joined
29 January 2008
Messages
6,822
Visit site
I don't think you can compare a groom with a junior doctor.

Junior doctors will also get banding for being on call so the starting salary is just their basic salary, a Junior doctor is also a trainee so they are getting trained whilst working and they are being quite heavily supervised when they first start out, a lot of time and money goes into training a doctor till they get to Consultant level, they have study leave and courses paid for as well, but once they are fully trained they can earn a lot of money.

The groom at the equine college may get a bit of career progression if they can go on the courses offered at the College but costs associated with training a groom are nothing like the costs associated with training a doctor.

The equine college will probably if it is public college gets a bit of funding per student as well as private or international students which bring in a lot of income. The person specification and job description may mean that although the minimum qualification is an NVQ level 2 they actually want someone with more work experience as well and will be looking for the person to take on more responsibility. Just because a job does not require a lot of qualifications does not mean it is not challenging or has a low level of responsibility.

A college is quite different to a livery yard/RS in that College will offer a wide range of courses and have a lot of administrative staff as well as grooms, yard staff and teaching staff. It is a completely different business model. A lot of educational establishments will have a grading system for pay related to level of responsibility and person specifications that will be equal across the organisations therefore an admin role that requires an NVQ level 2 and a certain level of responsibility would get the same pay as someone working on the yard with a similar level of qualifications and responsibility so less about the market rates compared to other roles in different establishments.
 
Last edited:

sport horse

Well-Known Member
Joined
23 January 2002
Messages
1,944
Visit site
A medical student has to pay for their university course and accommodation over the five years and many have huge student loans to pay off in their early working years as opposed to an NVQ student on an apprenticeship who is not charged any fees and actually gets paid a wage during their training.

NVQ level 2 is pretty basic stuff and would not qualify anyone to work as a groom at any professional level without a considerable furthering of experience.
 

SO1

Well-Known Member
Joined
29 January 2008
Messages
6,822
Visit site
I have spent nearly 20 years working for organisations which are responsible for training doctors so I do have an understanding of how their training works and also a good idea of their salary potential. Yes the doctors do spend a lot of money on their university training and work very hard but the pay off is an a good salary once qualified and an excellent pension and good career progression. Although the changes to the contracts may change the attractiveness of medicine as a career as they will earn less due to the changes in pay banding if they work outside normal hours.

I don't think you can really compare the level of training an apprentice gets compared to that of a doctor. The cost of training an equine apprentice is very low and they can start doing tasks which generate income almost immediately but a doctor requires years of expensive training before they can work independently and starting treating and diagnosing people.

A medical student has to pay for their university course and accommodation over the five years and many have huge student loans to pay off in their early working years as opposed to an NVQ student on an apprenticeship who is not charged any fees and actually gets paid a wage during their training.

NVQ level 2 is pretty basic stuff and would not qualify anyone to work as a groom at any professional level without a considerable furthering of experience.
 
Last edited:

benz

Well-Known Member
Joined
20 March 2015
Messages
594
Visit site
16k is not a lot of money and personally (having gone through this route and employed others) I think NVQ2/BHS2 is a good standard that shows you know how to basically take care of horses under minimal supervision. To get these quals you need to be working full time with horses about 1 yr at least, more if you left school without quals and need to do 1st level too. Usually by the time you pass BHS2 you are already working towards 3 so in reality I would expect someone who already has these quals to be working towards level 3, so they would be able to do all basic yard jobs without someone standing over the shoulder, handle horses safely and be efficient so would not begrudge them a measly 16k/yr.

Most equine colleges that I know of have 60+ paying liverys and rent out facilities so i wouldn't worry too much that your taxes are being wasted on paying for grooms.

22.8k is a huge difference and docs can eventually be earning many many times more than that, how many grooms are on over 22.8k even when fully qualified/years of experience? They will also have maternity pay, holiday pay, pension and usually be able to work right up to pension age, don't see many 67 year old grooms about with kids and mortgage paid off....

I am a little confused by this thread as normally everyone is up in arms that grooms don't get paid enough yet here it seems if they are paid a half decent salary there's complaining about where our taxes are going! Apologies if I've got the wrong end of the stick but that's how the OP reads to me?
 

Elbie

Well-Known Member
Joined
22 August 2010
Messages
3,060
Location
Colchester
Visit site
I did my NVQ2 while at sixth form. It is basic, but not your beginner knowing one end of a horse from another. We had to show we could bandage, fit boots and rugs, tack up (and fit), prepare to travel and load/unload, groom and plait, all competently. I think NVQ is supposed to run over a year generally, so at a minimum you would have someone with one years experience. However, for the riding you have to be able to ride sufficiently and jump 2ft 6 (or it was at the time I did mine) so you would imagine anyone completing the NVQ2 would have had contact with horses for a bit of time.

I don't think you can compare with trainee doctors and their earnings. It may be a low salary to start with but the end salary and benefits are much higher than potentials for a groom.

I think the original post was asking where the funds come from. I'm assuming this would be from the livery and tuition?
 

Honey08

Waffled a lot!
Joined
7 June 2010
Messages
19,199
Location
north west
Visit site
I am confused by this thread as well we should be pleased that some one is paying a reasonable wage .

Yes me too. I actually thought this was a thread about low wages, initially, after all £16k is not a lot at all.

However, no a typical livery yard probably wouldn't afford to pay that much. But that's more down to livery being too cheap. And that's what needs changing, not the staff wages.
 

ester

Not slacking multitasking
Joined
31 December 2008
Messages
60,602
Location
Cambridge
Visit site
I imagine they want experience with that as well. Perhaps they didn't put a higher qualification on because they don't need someone more qualified/they know that qualifications don't necessarily make good grooms so kept that requirement low.
 

sport horse

Well-Known Member
Joined
23 January 2002
Messages
1,944
Visit site
The college I am referring to does not take liveries, it runs a riding school one day/week. and it runs a few unaffiliated events. Where does the income come from to pay the staff? I have, in the past, loaned a horse to this college and I had to take it back as their care did not meet my loan requirements which were as per BHS loan agreement!

I have absolutely no problem with paying staff the proper wage for their work, plus as many extras as it is permisseable to add on, but I have a professional level set up and the students from this college are of no use to me (that is based on 20+ years experience for me and others in the area) - I expect my staff to turn up to work! I realise this is a novel idea.

The students at this college - even NVQ students - do not do yard work, the grooms do that. The students have lectures in how to muck out! When on work experience I have even had to show them how to use a broom! Add to that a senior lecturer told me that once they have signed on for a course, it is not possible for a student to 'fail' even if they never appear.

Please forgive me, but I never even interview anyone who has studied at this college and to find that they are offering somewhat above the going rate when subsidised by my taxes, leaves me more than annoyed! (Especially when we have just gone past the end of the tax year and I am amassing the paperwork for this year's tax return)
 

Mike007

Well-Known Member
Joined
28 May 2009
Messages
8,222
Visit site
ALL colleges and Universities are businesses ,first and foremost. They pay what they feel they need to pay. It is as simple as that.
 

sarahann1

Well-Known Member
Joined
20 August 2008
Messages
2,674
Location
Scotland
Visit site
If the college in question is a 'living wage' employer, they will be paying all staff a minimum of £8.25 an hour regardless of position or qualifications.
More info here http://www.livingwage.org.uk

My own work is a living wage employer, how do they afford it? By cutting the staff they do have to the bone and expecting them to work the jobs of at least two folk and cutting resources for students elsewhere, IT, labs, library resources etc etc.
 
Last edited:

zaminda

Well-Known Member
Joined
26 August 2008
Messages
2,333
Location
Somerset
Visit site
For me that isn't a huge amount of money especially if it is without accommodation. Colleges are funded by the. tax payer.
Personally I think college courses need some serious looking at as do the level of qualifications the teachers. Our local college has kids on the level 3 who are still on the leadrein!
 

ironhorse

Well-Known Member
Joined
28 November 2007
Messages
1,775
Visit site
Grooms in the private sector often get accommodation (and possibly meals), contribution towards their own horse's livery (if not included), transport to shows etc to top up a lower wage. Plus there is the benefit of a more regular routine with fewer people riding the horses etc - i would imagine that the college needs to offer more money to offset this. Our local college is a great place with amazing facilities, but I couldn't imagine working there as a groom, except short term to broaden my level of experience.
 

sport horse

Well-Known Member
Joined
23 January 2002
Messages
1,944
Visit site
I think if you follow your link you will find that the living wage, which came into effect this month, is £7.20 per hour
If the college in question is a 'living wage' employer, they will be paying all staff a minimum of £8.25 an hour regardless of position or qualifications.
More info here http://www.livingwage.org.uk

My own work is a living wage employer, how do they afford it? By cutting the staff they do have to the bone and expecting them to work the jobs of at least two folk and cutting resources for students elsewhere, IT, labs, library resources etc etc.
 

Amicus

Well-Known Member
Joined
19 February 2011
Messages
368
Visit site
The living wage is the wage calculated by the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University (£8.25) which isn't the same as the minimum wage although the gov has called the new minimum wage of £7.20 for those >25yr the living wage it not the same as that calculated by research.
 

sarahann1

Well-Known Member
Joined
20 August 2008
Messages
2,674
Location
Scotland
Visit site
The living wage is the wage calculated by the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University (£8.25) which isn't the same as the minimum wage although the gov has called the new minimum wage of £7.20 for those >25yr the living wage it not the same as that calculated by research.

That's a much better explanation!

I personally think it's great that folk are getting decent wages. While the qualification requirements for the post may be considered low to some, I'd put money on the overall responsibilities being pretty high.
 

Mooseontheloose

Well-Known Member
Joined
23 January 2015
Messages
387
Location
UK
Visit site
As a yard owner, trainer, and general all round worker I've slogged for years for a very small amount of money, but it's been my choice, and I feel privileged to have been my own boss and able to make a modest go of it.
But, owning horses is expensive and I don't see why owners consider that their livery should be subsidised by low pay. I've always thought that basically, if you can't afford to pay properly then perhaps you shouldn't have a horse, should share, use a riding school or other alternative.
I know that sounds brutal, and I really do know how hard some people work to keep their horses, but again, that is their choice.
Frankly to get good staff who care, will go the extra mile, work in all weathers, carry on learning, walk your horse with colic and two in the morning, I believe they deserve a living wage.
I've had owners quibbling about their bills while sending four children to private school, having two or three foreign holidays per year, driving the sort of car I'll never own, and carrying a handbag costing more than I earn in three months.

I do know the majority of owners run two jobs, get up an sparrow's fart and poo pick by head torch, I do the same1
 
Top