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10 February 2023

Harry Dunlop – CATS

In May 2021 Lambourn trainer, Harry Dunlop, had come to a crossroads in his career. It was a conversation with another trainer that led him to pick up the phone to Racing Welfare, where he was soon referred into the Careers Advice and Training Service (CATS) for careers coaching.

Harry had been considering calling time on his 16-year career as a racehorse trainer for a while, admitting that it was a daunting prospect for several factors, not least for financial reasons.

He says: “I was nervous that I hadn’t worked in the main workplace in a 9-5 job. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do.

“Zoe [the CATS careers coach] was great. We had three Zoom calls and explored what I really wanted to do. We spoke about lifestyle choices and my portfolio of work to date. We also looked at my CV and did some basic interview preparation, even looking at IT literacy courses that might be useful.”

It was this combination of support that helped Harry to consider his options. He continues: “In all honesty it got me thinking the right way, about where I wanted to go.”

Also, thinking about his considerable experience as a ‘portfolio’ of work, and considering the transferable skills that he’d picked up over the many years training racehorses, was of particular benefit.

He says: “I’ve always wanted to do other things. My biggest concern was what I wanted to do – was I qualified to do something else? I think that is probably the biggest scare, and that’s where a service like CATS helps.

“I realised that I don’t have to do a 9-5 job, which is something I was concerned about. It was a comfort to know from a professional that you can go out there and be entrepreneurial and do your own thing.”

Harry also discusses the confidentiality of the service, and how useful it was to have someone from outside of the day-to-day racing world to help him get some direction: “I’d only spoken to three or four people about what was on my mind. People [in racing] are worried about what everyone says. So, it was nice to say things as you wanted to and get advice.

“It was very beneficial, [Zoe] did as much as she could for me and gave me the confidence to go forward.”

Since accessing CATS, Harry relinquished his training license at the end of the 2022 Flat racing season. He continues to work in an advisory role in the racing and bloodstock world, working with his brother, Ed Dunlop, and young Lambourn trainer Tom Ward; whilst extending his portfolio of work to include a new gardening business and work at an art gallery in London.

Harry concludes: “My life has completely changed, and I do put a lot of it down to CATS. Just having those three professional sessions – it couldn’t have been more helpful.

“Anybody at a crossroads or thinking about a career change should be using the service. Very, very helpful.”

The Careers Advice & Training Service (CATS) has now been suspended. Via our welfare officers and our support line, beneficiaries can still access careers advice, support, signposting to job boards and industry bodies as well as training grants.