Greatwood Charity, near Marlborough, James Paget led in a Cheltenham Festival winner - not many get to fulfill a dream like that.Just three years after his first ever contact with a racehorse at the
The horse he looks after at Neil Mulholland's yard, The Druids Nephew, had won the Festival's Ultima Business Solutions Handicap Chase (Grade 3) with Barry Geraghty aboard.
“Before I went to Greatwood," James said, "I had never had any contact with horses, but as soon as I walked through the gates I knew that I wanted to work with horses for the rest of my life.”
James attended Greatwood’s Get Going programme during the summer of 2012. Via the Princes Trust, he came to the charity from the Amber Foundation, a residential charity that offers a fresh start to homeless unemployed young adults and helps them gain employment and accommodation.
"I was living in a hostel when I met someone that had been to the Northern Racing College (NRC) - my ears pricked up and I thought that may be something I would like to do. Also when I got talking about racing one of the members of staff at the hostel informed me that he used to be a jockey."
"Through the Princes Trust I went to Greatwood where they gave me the opportunity to apply to come to the NRC on their 12 week residential foundation course.”
After successfully completing Greatwood's Get Going programme and gaining an accredited qualification in ‘Basic Care of Horses’, James was then given a place at the NRC: “My first week was really interesting and I liked the fact that they had you doing everything from mucking out to riding within the first week. I’m not so keen on the mucking out but when I rode for the first time it makes the mucking out well worth it!"
After completing 12 weeks at the NRC, James gained more qualifications and subsequently went on to secure full time employment and now has a career within the racing industry - working for Bath based trainer, Neil Mulholland.
James is going from strength to strength and is in charge of Festival winning The Druid’s Nephew who is now vying for the most illustrious prize in National Hunt racing with an entry in the Crabbies Grand National next month.
Greatwood’s ‘Get Going’ innovative intensive educational programme develops key workplace skills for NEETS (not in employment, education or training), who may have struggled at school, have been in care, are long-term unemployed or have been in trouble with the law. Get Going is an intensive British Horseracing Education & Standards Trust (BHE&ST) accredited course and provides an introduction to careers with horses and the horse racing industry with an Entry Level 2 Award in Assisting with Basic Care of Horses