MANCHESTER UNITED legend Rio Ferdinand has teamed up with The Jockey Club to lauch a new initiative aimed at getting more young people into racing.
Former England hero Ferdinand, 43, took in the sights at Royal Ascot last weekend and is excited about branching out into a new sport.
His foundation's scheme will launch at Sandown Park, Epsom and Kempton Park before hopefully becoming nationwide.
Initially educating those aged 16 to 24 through open days, sessions and visits, The Jockey Club will also showcase the vast array of jobs horse racing offers.
The Jockey Club, which operates 15 racecourses and stages some of Britain’s biggest sporting events including the Cheltenham Festival, Randox Grand National and the Cazoo Derby, will then work with the Foundation to provide mentoring and support.
The young people taking part in the programme will gain the relevant training and formal qualifications to prepare them for a career in racing.
Ferdinand said: "I’m really excited that we’re going to be working with The Jockey Club to demonstrate to so many young people everything horseracing has to offer, both as a career path and a sport.
“Ten years ago we set up the Rio Ferdinand Foundation with the aim of supporting and empowering 16 to 24-year-olds from some of the UK’s most disadvantaged communities, whilst also tackling racism and inequality head on.
“Ever since then we’ve helped thousands of young people through education and employment, opening their eyes to the opportunities that are out there and helping them make the most of the skills and talent they have.
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“Day in, day out we work with community centres, education providers and a whole host of industries with the goal of helping young people realise their true potential and it’s fantastic that we’re now able to do the same in horseracing through this collaboration with The Jockey Club."
Nevin Truesdale, chief executive of The Jockey Club, added: “We want young people and people from all backgrounds to look on horseracing as a sport and an industry which is full of opportunities for them.
“By working with the Rio Ferdinand Foundation we aim to introduce racing to a group of young people who have never previously considered it as a pastime or an industry to work in.
"My colleagues across The Jockey Club come from a significant range of backgrounds and this initiative will help highlight that it’s not essential to want to work directly with animals or to have a racing background to have a career in the sport.
“We’re just as passionate about the work the Rio Ferdinand Foundation is doing in the community as those who have helped make it the huge success it is today and we can’t wait for this partnership to get started.”
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