Silverdale Academy November Newsletter

After writing each Newsletter I always feel as though it can’t get any better. The Silverdale Academy has grown from strength to strength. The reason for this is because Silverdale always strives to go the extra 1%. Our passion is education development in the industry as we continue to place graduates into jobs. We are proud of the outcomes being achieved. 

The Silverdale Academy is fully invested in supporting our graduates and enjoy following their success long after they have graduated. We welcome them to the special network of industry contacts which the internship provides the platform for. 

The Silverdale Academy is run solely by volunteers with minimal funding from the NSW Government to cover TAFE NSW course fees only. Steve Grant and Robert Petith are the vision masters of our programs and continue to advocate for education and awareness to the many incredible career opportunities throughout the industry by getting future workers qualified. We are passionate about bringing change to the employment outcomes of the industry.

School Internship Program

Silverdale Academy in collaboration with RIEP and TAFE NSW completed their one weeks schools intern program with 12 students. The weeks experience was an overall success with 12 very keen students from various schools years 9 to 11 who have had a life changing experience. With Yearling Sale preparation underway at Silverdale Farm, it was a very busy time on farm with much to see and learn. We are so pleased that several of our students have already secured work experience and some have been highlighted for traineeships and entry level jobs. 

One highlight of their week, was Gai Waterhouse dropping in to share her insights into the industry and invaluable career tips when applying for jobs. Gai shared her journey, and sharp eye recognising some great talent in our group. We are so incredibly grateful for Gai and her teams support. Which is vital when inspiring the students, it can often be the spark that ignites their passion and have the confidence to go after their dream.

We had a very special surprise visit from Ciaron Maher who was on site at Ciaron Maher Racing Stables, Moss Vale for the Interns excursion encompassing stable work and horse handling. Sharing his humble story of coming from a farm to now leading one of Australia’s great racing businesses highlighted to the students anything is possible. Rebecca Stepetz, Operations Manager for Ciaron Maher Racing plays a pivotal role in support for us at the Silverdale Academy. They believe 100% in the Academy’s drive to provide early education programs to fill the employment gap the industry is currently facing. 

A very new experience for our program was a visit with accomplished horseman Greg Bennett at Thenford Farm, learning about educating young horses and pre-training. He started riding and mustering as a young man in Walcha. He has educated many successful racehorses such as 3 time Melbourne Cup winner Makybe Diva. He specialises in preparing young yearlings and introducing them to the preliminary stages of racing. We are so excited to have him on board with our future program. 

Another guest stand out was Jemma Cutting from Inglis who shared her journey in media and marketing. At the end of her presentation, the students had a private masterclass on how to read like a journalist. They were enthralled. 

Julie Ritchie, owner of Bangaloe Stud and Oakridge Spelling and Agistment and Director and Vice Chair of Kick Up, shared valuable lessons in getting the first start in the industry.  She also shared insight into Kick Up – the growing movement educating the public on misconceptions in the racing industry. 

The week was jam packed with activities such as, feed runs, horse handling, time with the farrier and vets.  Exciting excursions to Randwick Equine Center and seeing their state of the art facilities, and visiting Milburn Creek to learn more about thoroughbred breeding. Craig Rounsefell opened up a whole new world they never had even contemplated in the Bloodstock Industry and our regular visit from Stephen Lamb from Horsepower spoke on the importance of nutrition. The week concluded with surprise visit by Virginia Harvey from The Land News – she finished the week off with the perfect quote,  “If your passion is great enough, you will teach yourself anything”.

 We must emphasise that this incredible Schools Internship program would not have happened without our partnership with RIEP, Illawarra and Jennifer Watts and Neil Bessant obtaining funding support.  The Regional Industry Education Partnerships (RIEP) program connects employers with secondary schools across NSW.

We wish to express our gratitude to Linda Molloy, TAFE NSW teacher.  The incredible experience our school students receive from our programs and the success we have is due Linda’s commitment and passion.  She puts a huge effort into preparing materials and ensuring our graduates receive the most informed education they can possibly have.  

Silverdale Academy Summer Intern Program – Warwick Farm


Online Learning commences:

11 December 2023 to 22 March 2024

Warwick Farm Practical Experience:

12-16 February 2024

  • Incredible opportunity to gain behind the scenes exposure to Inglis Classic Sales. 
  • Learn what buyers look for in a champion racehorse. 
  • Experience the excitement and buzz of the sales arena. 
  • See how horses are prepared in the stables prior to parading.
  • Learn important hands-on fundamental horse handling skills with Warwick Farm’s Clerk of the Course Horses.
  • Spend time working in Ciaron Maher stables and learn the roles and what it takes working for a world leading trainer.
  • Take an excursion to state-of-the-art REC Equine Veterinary Facility at Horsley park.
  • Experience work on a leading Thoroughbred Breeding Farm at Silverdale Farm.
  • Meet industry leaders as they engage you with career chats – bloodstock agents, corporate management, marketing and media experts, jockeys, judges, plus so many more.
  • Experience Barrier Trials right behind the barriers and meet barrier attendants.
  • Take a Warwick Farm track tour and meet all the people behind the scenes and the different roles.

Nationally Recognised Qualifications include:

ACMEQU212: Handle horses safely

ACMEQU217: Load and unload horses

ACMEQU313: Work safely in equine wokplaces

ACMGAS202: Participate in workplace communication


November is the month when the nation stops for 3 minutes every November.  Here are some interesting facts on Melbourne Cup History

1. The Melbourne Cup was declared a public holiday for Victoria in 1877. 

2. In 1890 the race had 3 runners, the most throughout its history. The field is now restricted to 24 runners for safety reasons. 

3. No horse has won the Melbourne Cup from barrier 18. 

4. Phar Lap holds the record for carrying the heaviest weight in any Cup which was 68kgs in 1931. He finished eighth.

Graduate Intern Update 

These are the stories we just love to hear.  Stephen, a graduate from our previous intern program has been offered a job with Ciaron Maher Racing working weekends and he quotes, “I’m having the time of my life.  I am still learning, but it’s a great environment to learn and the staff are very helpful. Before completing the intern program, I had never handled a horse, let alone apply gear or muck out a box. Through this internship, I have added a skill set that I will find useful for life.”

This is a wonderful example of how anyone can come into the industry with no experience and have the opportunity to follow their passion and learn on the job.  Our Intern program provides the fundamental skills to get your foot in the door.  If you are willing to work hard and have the passion, there are no limits to where you can go in the industry.

Did you know there are many Career pathways in the thoroughbred industry…


Jockeys * Owners * Stablehands * Trackwork Riders * Racehorse Trainers


Accountants * Communications * Computer Technicians * Handicappers * Insurance Brokers * Judges * Legal Services * Newsagents * Photo Finish Technician * Security Firms * Solicitors * Starters * Stewards


Agistment Farms * Auctioneers * Breeders * Farmers * Stud Masters


Event Management * Racecourse Hospitality

Horses / Transport

Chiropractors * Float Drivers * Float/Coach Builders * Fuel Outlets * Horse Shoe Manufacturers * Mechanics * Produce Suppliers * Saddlers * Transport Operators Technicians * Vehicle Suppliers * Veterinarians * Veterinary Suppliers


Journalists * Printers * TV Camera Staff * TV Producer * Video Operator


Ambulance Officers * Barrier Attendants * Bookmakers * Builders & Tradespersons * Carpark Attendants * Chefs * Clerk of Course * Clerk of Scales * Doctors * Gardeners * Hospitality * TAB Personnel [Current Courses]

This months profile – David Anderson

David is the Racecourse Manager for Illawarra Turf Club, Kembla Grange.  David has been generously volunteering his time to assist with our school tours and providing our interns with knowledge and exposure to the racing industry in the Illawarra region.  You can catch David providing track updates in the media.  David is a true gentlemen in the industry and we just love having the opportunity to work with him.

David is so passionate about helping Silverdale Academy and even makes sure there is morning tea set up for our schools students arrival. 

Illawarra Turf Club have been huge supporters of the Silverdale Academy, and we thank Lindsay Murphy, Chairman and now retired CEO, Peter De Vries who worked with us to bring our programs to Kembla Grange. We look forward to working with the new CEO, Steven Keene.

David is also instrumental in the success of the exciting $1M Gong Races which will be held this year on 25th November.  It’s an incredible opportunity for people to experience the races in a relaxed style.Kembla grange is an incredible track with leading trainers as well as a good nursery with a lot of Group 1 winners starting off there. Some of the top-class racehorses trained out of Kembla or winning their maidens at the provincial track include,  Universal Prince, Victory Vein and Bentley Biscuit, and more recently She Will Reign and Angel Of Truth.

Silverdale Farm – Work Experience

Earlier in the year, we had Jenna from Moss Vale High complete week one of a two week work experience placement. It was a quiet period for week one, but it gave her a good overview of Silverdale Farm. 

Last week, Jenna completed her second week of work experience which was a whole lot busier.  With yearlings in preparation and foals to take care of, the experience was extremely fulfilling where she did an amazing job.  The highlight was meeting Gai Waterhouse and her team through our Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale inspections.  Have we told you how much we love our job?

Silverdale Farm and Academy become Industry Members of Skills Insight

Danielle Tiller has recently been invited to become an Industry member of Skills Impact.  This is a great opportunity to have a seat at the table and contribute to delivering important skills outcomes in the industry.

Skills Insight has been designed as a member-based organisation, where members represent stakeholders and, through various structures, guide the direction of Skills Insight in delivering services and outcomes. Skills Insight Membership is open to organisations who are committed to the vision, mission, values and objectives of Skills Insight and the Jobs and Skills Council program.

All Members have the opportunity to participate in stakeholder activities and engagement, connecting you with others who share an interest in skills and training and offering the chance to collaborate on solutions. This includes access to our virtual networks (once established), which will provide the ability to discuss issues as they arise, and to formal networks which will aid in the decision-making processes of the JSC.

Becoming a Skills Insight Member provides us with an opportunity to be an active part of Skills Impact network and being able to contribute to the direction of projects and activities that will impact the industry.

Coming Up!

Special thanks this month to:

Inglis Bloodstock, Ciaron Maher Racing, Boomer Stock Agents, The Land,Thenford Farm, Milburn Creek, Gai Waterhouse Racing, Horsepower, RIEP, Linda Molloy, Michelle Pontello, Silverdale Farm Staff.

Special Announcement

Silverdale Academy is currently working on their Equine Leadership Program, whis is a new and exciting program to be launched in 2024.  Stay tuned for further details.

Next Internship Program: 

Warwick Farm – Inglis Classic Yearling Sale

Where: Five weeks online learning & one week at Warwick Farm Inglis Classic Yearling Sale

Online learning : 11 December 2023 – 22 March 2024 

Practical learning: 12 – 16 February 2024 

Registrations: Registrations open now.  This is filling fast and has almost reached quota.  If full, you will be automatically registered for the next program commencing March.

Schools Week Internship
20 November 2023

Spring Internship Program: 

Where: Five weeks online learning and one week at Silverdale Farm 

Online Learning: 25 March – 31 March 2024

Practical Learning: 06 – 10 March 2024 

Registrations: Open 30th November 2024

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