Our trade must share energy, enthusiasm and experience with the young people so badly hit by the pandemic, says industry insider. 

Covid-19 will have long-lasting social and economic consequences in the UK. The worst hit are obviously the dead and the families that are left grieving; we mourn their loss, writes Monty Stuart-Monteith. 

Monty Stuart-Monteith

The next worse hit is probably Generation C.  This is a phrase used by [former Conservative leader] William Hague in a hugely influential essay recently published. Mr Hague talks about the boomers, the millennials, Generation Z and so on, but it is the issues of the school-leavers and students of 2020 - the generation C (Covid) - that is the focus of his concerns.

Generation C faces a tough time; truncated education, poor job prospects as we enter a deep recession, social life hugely curtailed. There is little of the clarity that my generation – that of the boomers as my 19 and 21-year-old offspring tell me regularly – was fortunate enough to enjoy.

Many current 18 – 24-year-olds will miss the time spent with inspirational teachers, lecturers and their own generation that gives youngsters a balanced introduction to adult life. This is a generational, social and governmental issue, but can we as a trade - or more widely as a sport - do anything to help?

I call upon the trade to open a debate with the sport as a whole to look at various ways of helping youngsters. We need to discuss how they may be enhanced, rather than be held back, in these difficult times.

There are a host of ideas:

  • Apprenticeships 
  • Bursaries 
  • Mentoring
  • Work experience

These and many other ideas can be developed to help our sport going forward:

  • Improve accessibility to sport
  • Business development and diversification for rural businesses
  • Digital education
  • Use of AI (artificial intelligence)
  • Improving sustainability 

If we can engage the sport and its institutions as a whole to focus on these issues, could it be that in a few years’ time we can say that the sport came out of this pandemic stronger than it went in?

About the author: Monty Stuart-Monteith, managing director of distribution and marketing hub Shaws Equestrian, is a former BETA chairman. 

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay