Members of the United Kingdom’s Farriers Registration Council (FRC) in late June pointed farrier training in an entirely new direction. That’s when FRC members voted to disband the National Farrier Training Agency (NFTA) and hand the country’s required farrier training over to three colleges that are already training farriers.

There will no longer be a governmental farrier-training agency, as has been the rule for many decades in the U.K.

The goal is to have the new farrier apprenticeship in place by early 2014. The new training model will retain a similar structure to what has been done for many decades — combining college training and 4 years of in-the-field experience under the eyes of veteran farriers in order to become licensed in the U.K.

The Forge magazine reported that the FRC, the Worshipful Company of Farriers (WCF) and the British Farriers and Blacksmiths Association (BFBA) issued the following joint statement after the June 27 meeting:

“With the Council decision made today, much must now be done to bring the new training system into action so that apprentices are provided with a safe learning environment and an effective and enjoyable training system.”

Farrier Training Was Substandard

The reasons behind the changes came about after a poor report was released in April on the quality of NFTA farrier training by the British government’s Office For Standards in Education. Because of the unfavorable report, the U.K.’s Skills Funding Agency (SFA) stopped providing money for farrier apprenticeships. New farriers that were looking forward to starting their apprenticeship on July 1 were out of luck, due to a lack of government funding.

More details on suspension of the U.K. farrier-training program are found in an article I wrote in this AFJ weekly ezine in mid-June. Click here to read the article: “Farrier Apprenticeship Program Suspended In The United Kingdom.”

Concerns Weren’t Answered

From the time the report was released last spring until the late-June FRC meeting, there was growing concern as to whether the NFTA would need months or years to adopt an effective farrier training program. As a result, a new program that would allow the colleges of Myerscough, Hereford and Warwickshire to take over farrier training was voted on at the late June meeting.

As required by the Farriers Registration Act, the FRC will continue to handle training accreditation and monitor farrier training. Standards for the Diploma of the Worshipful Company of Farriers will continue to be set by the WCF. Farriers will be required to continue to meet these requirements to become licensed in the U.K.

Training is expected to move to the colleges this fall, with the first apprenticeships hopefully getting underway in early 2014.