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Aga Khan Winner launches National Learning Network Horsemanship Programme in Sligo

24 March 2014
Image for Aga Khan Winner launches National Learning Network Horsemanship Programme in Sligo

Watch a video of the programme here:

Irish International Show jumper and 2012 Aga Khan winner, Clem McMahon, today officially launched National Learning Network’s Horsemanship programme in Sligo which is training people who have been long-term unemployed and require additional supports to work in the equine industry. The launch, which took place in Sligo Riding Centre, was attended by students and staff of National Learning Network, representatives from SOLAS, Teagasc and members of the local equine industry.

The Sligo centre is the first in Ireland to offer this unique introductory level Horsemanship training programme which was jointly developed by National Learning Network, SOLAS, and Teagasc and is accredited by FETAC. The course is designed to help people with limited or no  equitation skills or experience of horse riding or working with horses, to train in the equine industry. There are currently 11 people on the course which began in September 2013. For some, the programme offers the chance to change career, the opportunity to train in a new industry or an end to unemployment. It was set up by National Learning Network in conjunction with SOLAS, Teagasc, and Sligo Riding Centre.

Launching the programme, Irish International Show jumper, and member of the 2012 Aga Khan winning team, Clem McMahon said, “As a lifelong horse lover, I am delighted to launch what is a unique course in the equine industry. I commend National Learning Network for recognising a gap in the market for people who need certified introductory training in horsemanship skills. I know that the students will develop the skills, knowledge and attitude required to go onto further training or get jobs in the equine industry. And take it from me, there is no better job than working with horses every day!”

David O’Rourke from Sligo previously worked as a carer and is now enjoying a return to education and training.  He said, “This programme has given me the chance to train and work with horses which is something I have always wanted to do but never had the opportunity. I have learned loads already and I am excited about the future.”

Sharon Thornton, Area Manager, National Learning Network, Sligo  said, “The
growing equine industry emerging in County Sligo led us to identify a need for the
Horsemanship programme. The course which is designed to support the individual needs of each student is a very exciting addition to the current range of courses that we offer which are making students job-ready for their chosen career.”


Students will receive FETAC Level 4 training in Horse Riding, Stable & Yard Routine, Workplace Safety, Work Experience, Personal Effectiveness, Teamworking, Health Related Fitness and IT skills as well as non-accredited modules such as Self-Advocacy, Customer Service, Preparation for Work, Keeping a Job, Review and Planning for the Future. Practical classes are held in the Sligo Riding Centre two days a week, with three days based in the National Learning Network centre on Bridge Street in Sligo. Other supports available to students include a rehabilitation officer and resource teachers.


Located on Bridge Street in Sligo, National Learning Network offers training opportunities to over 100 people from County Sligo who may have been finding it difficult to access further education, training and employment.