Happy Horse Retirement Home: Small Employer of the Year

The owners of the first private retirement home for horses in Great Britain are passionate about developing staff through Apprenticeship Programmes.

Nicky and Ray Van Dijk, owners of Happy Horse Retirement Home in Crai, near Brecon, opened the centre in 1989 and now have eight staff who care for 50 horses. The company has helped train nine apprentices in the past five years, most of whom have gone on to careers in the equine industry. One former apprentice represents Great Britain in harness driving.

Happy Horse Retirement Home is no stranger to the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru as assistant manager Marc Pugh won the Jobs Growth Wales Outstanding Achiever Award last year. His success story has inspired others to enter the equine industry. The company offers a variety of staff training, ranging from Foundation Apprenticeships to a Higher Apprenticeship, and tailored personal training plans designed to achieve individual goals are developed. The apprenticeships are delivered by Coleg Cambria.
Katy Davies, Coleg Cambria’s equine assessor, said: “There is a real shortage of skilled workers in the equine industry, and even more so in these remote places in Wales. Nicky enables young people to find their niche, gain valuable qualifications and set themselves up for a successful future.”