Jockeys compete at race tracks all over Australia and the world. In Western Australia, there are tracks in Ascot, Pinjarra, Bunbury, Albany, Geraldton, Kalgoorlie and some other smaller regional locations. They often start work with early morning training sessions and may be required to train and/or compete on weekends and public holidays.
Jockeys must follow a strict diet and personal training program in order to keep their weight at specific levels.
Once qualified, most jockeys work as independent contractors, running their own small business. Earnings will depend on the level of demand for their services, as well as their level of skill and experience.
Both trainees and qualified jockeys receive a riding fee for every race they compete in and are paid five per cent of any prize money won.
When riding horses jockeys use various associated equipment or tack, such as saddles, stirrups and bridles. They are also required to wear a helmet, boots and a protective vest. When racing they may also use a small whip, however, there are strict guidelines governing the use of whips in horse racing in Australia, which jockeys must adhere to in order to avoid causing injury to the horse, or other jockeys.
To become a jockey you usually need to complete a traineeship. The jockey traineeship takes 48 months to complete.
Jockeys must be at least 15 years old, meet strict weight requirements and pass a medical examination. Once you have completed your traineeship you will need to apply for a Jockey license, issued by Racing and Wagering WA.
In order to compete in races interstate you may need to hold additional licences. Check with the licensing body for the state in which you wish to race, for full details.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.
If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.
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If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.