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This page provides information and data on the Racing industry. The Racing industry in Australia incorporates a diverse range of businesses including horse breeding/farming, horse racing (Thoroughbred and harness), greyhound racing, and management of the facilities used specifically for those activities.

The Racing industry has the following regulated occupations:

  • jockeys
  • owners
  • trainers
  • track work riders
  • harness drivers
  • breeders
  • stud managers
  • stablehands
  • kennelhands.

All occupations must have Racing industry licences, which are coordinated through the industry’s peak bodies. Nationally recognised training for the Racing industry is delivered under the RGR08 Racing Training Package.

Visit the following pages for information on other Sport, Fitness and Recreation sectors and Agriculture sectors. 

Information sourced from the Racing IRC Skills Forecast and Proposed Schedule of Work.

All data sources are available at the end of the page.

IRC and Skills Forecasts

Employment trends

Employment snapshot

The employment level for the Horse and Dog Racing Activities industry has fluctuated between 2000 and 2017. In 2017 the employment level was around 12,000, which is projected to decline slightly to 11,400 in 2022.

Looking at the top occupations in the Horse and Dog Racing Activities industry, 23.7% of the workforce is employed as Livestock Farm Workers. A further 18.6% of the workforce is employed as Animal Attendants and Trainers, and this occupation is expected to grow by 11.5% by 2022. 

Training trends

Training snapshot

In 2016 there were 1,594 program enrolments in the Racing Training Package and 333 program completions. Around half of program enrolments are at the certificate III level and a third at certificate IV level.

Just under half of training is for stablehand qualifications. Around 20% of training is in racehorse training. Just under 14% of training is in jockey and harness race driving qualifications. Nearly two thirds of training leads to the occupation of Animal Attendants and Trainers.

Over half of training is delivered by private training providers (55.3%), followed by 40.3% provided by TAFE institutes. The majority of training (78.8%) is funded by government.

Over half of students (54.4%) are located in Victoria, with over 40% of Victorian students located in Melbourne (43.5%).

Apprentice and trainee numbers have declined between 2010 and 2016, from 541 commencements in 2010 to 224 commencements in 2016. Most apprentices and trainees are located in New South Wales (38.0%) followed by Victoria (27.9%).

For more data specific to your occupation, industry or training package, visit NCVER’s VET students by industry.

For more data specific to your region visit NCVER’s Atlas of total VET. If you are prompted to log in, select cancel and you will continue to be directed to the program.

If you are interested in extracting NCVER data to construct tables with data relevant to you, sign up for a VOCSTATS account.

Industry insights

Industry insights on skills needs

The Racing IRC Skills Forecast and Proposed Schedule of Work 2017—2020 identifies a number of factors which provide challenges and opportunities for the Racing industry, and have implications for the industry’s workforce. These include:

  • The industry is subject to market forces which drive event attendance and wagering. Competition from other sports and other forms of gambling can affect attendances at racing events and the number of consumers who bet on horse races and greyhound races, and the industry is constantly challenged to find ways to increase attendance and consumption.
  • The Australian Racing industry operates under a high level of regulation to ensure the integrity of racing practices, which aims to maintain consumer confidence in racing events by ensuring fair and equitable competition for all participants.
  • Animal welfare practices remain a present challenge for the industry. More opportunities exist for the industry to develop animal welfare measures and practices and strengthen communication to the wider community. This could lead to new employment and training opportunities in areas of lifecycle management, and animal behaviour and husbandry.
  • Employment growth is anticipated for horse and greyhound racing activities in coming years. Jockeys, trainers, track work riders, and stablehands all require racing industry licences that are coordinated through the PRAs, including for owners in the case of greyhounds. While obtaining specific qualifications is common for many occupations, in all cases, obtaining the qualification is not an automatic guarantee of a licence as other factors are taken into account.
  • There is comparable participation of both young and mature aged employees in the industry. However, the mature aged workforce presents challenges associated with ageing and retiring workers.
  • A significant percentage of the Racing workforce occupies roles not specific to the industry including livestock farm workers and farmers, animal attendants and trainers, sportspeople, sport coaches, instructors and officials. A significant workforce is also employed by clubs operating racetracks across Australia to undertake administrative work and specialist management roles, particularly in hospitality, retail and services. The industry also employs a large number of people in a range of other critical jobs such as gardeners and greenkeepers.
  • There is a developing need for the Racing industry to collaborate with other industries, such as animal care, recreational sports and companion animals, to service animal athletes throughout their lives. Australia has one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world, and public scrutiny in the greyhound racing sector has raised awareness and demand for ex-racing animals to be repatriated as companion animals. New skills and employment opportunities are already being created to fill this niche, such as animal rescue groups undertaking behavioural assessment and training tailored for ex-racing greyhounds.

To address the skills needs created by these challenges and opportunities, the Racing IRC Skills Forecast and Proposed Schedule of Work 2017—2020 has identified the top priority skills for the industry. They include:

  • integrity and high quality investigation skills for racing stewards and betting supervisors
  • racehorse breeding skills
  • self-management, entrepreneurship and transferable skills for jockeys and drivers
  • skills in retraining and retiring Standardbred and Thoroughbred horses
  • racetrack maintenance skills
  • skills in incident management involving horses or greyhound
  • skills for racetrack staff
  • skills in assessing ex-racing greyhounds for pet rehoming and foster care services.

Skills Victoria and Racing Victoria have identified a range of factors which are impacting upon the industry and create challenges in attracting and retaining the workforce in Victoria. These include:

  • equine welfare programs
  • shortage of new entrants
  • industry licensing and accreditation
  • racecourse and Training Infrastructure Facilities Plan
  • public perception of racing.

The Western Australian Creative and Leisure Industries Training Council Industry Workforce Development Plan identifies the following key priority skills in the Racing industry:

  • equine and canine animal behaviour, health and welfare
  • biosecurity – disease prevention, diagnosis and emergency response
  • selective canine breeding
  • small business management
  • track maintenance
  • workplace health and safety.

The plan suggests linking skill sets contained within the Racing Training Package to licences required in Western Australia, to ensure there is consistency in skills across the industry and to provide the licence recipient with a nationally recognised skill set.

Links and resources

Below is a list of industry-relevant organisations and associations. Hyperlinks have been included where available.

Industry associations and advisory bodies

Association of Victorian Country Harness Racing Clubs (AVCHRC)

Australian Bookmakers' Association (ABA)

Australian Genetics Testing (AGT)

Australian Greyhound Racing Association (AGRA)

Australian Jockeys' Association (AJA)

Australian Jumping Racing Association (AJRA)

Australian Standardbred Breeders Association (ASBA)

Australian Trainers' Association (ATA)

Australian Turf Club

BOTRA Tasmania (Breeders, Owners, Trainers and Reinspersons Association)

Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club (BGRC)

Brisbane Racing Club

Canberra Harness Racing Club

Canberra Racing Club

Capricornia Country Racing Association

Central Districts Racing Association

Central West Country Racing Association

Country Broken Hill and Far West Racing Association

Country Racing Association of Western Australia (CRA WA)

Country Racing Victoria

Darwin Greyhound Association of the Northern Territories

Darwin Turf Club 

Racehorse Owners Association of NT (ROANT)

Downs Country Racing Association

Eastern Downs Country Racing Association

Equine Veterinarians Australia

Far North Country Racing Association

Federation of Bloodstock Agents Australia Limited

Gloucester Park Harness Racing

Racing and Wagering Western Australia

Greyhound Owners, Trainers and Breeders Association of Victoria (GOTBA)

Greyhound Racing NSW

Greyhound Racing South Australia (GRSA)

Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV)

Greyhounds Australasia (GA)

Greyhounds Western Australia (GWA)

Harness Breeders Victoria (HBV)

Harness Racing Australia (HRA)

Harness Racing Owners Association of Western Australia

Harness Racing South Australia

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV)

Hobart Greyhound Racing Club

Hunter and North West Racing Association

Launceston Greyhound Racing Club Inc.

Leichhardt Country Racing Association

Melbourne Greyhound Racing Association (MGRA)

Melbourne Racing Club

Metropolitan and Country Harness Racing Association (MACHRA)

Mid North Coast Racing Association

Mooney Valley Racing Club (MVRC)

North West Country Racing Association

Northern Rivers Racing Association

Northern Territory Bloodhorse Breeders Association (NTBBA)

NSW Bookmakers Association

Harness Racing New South Wales

NSW Jockeys Association

NSW Racehorse Owners Association (NSWROA)

NSW Standardbred Owners Association (NSWSOA)

NSW Trainers Association (NSWTA)

Perth Racing

Provincial Racing Association of NSW (PRANSW)

Queensland Breeders, Owners, Trainers and Reinspersons Association (BOTRA)

Queensland Country Racing Committee

Queensland Department of National Parks, Sports and Racing

Queensland Racehorse Owners' Association

Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC)

Racing Analytical Services Ltd (RASL)

Racing Australia

Racing NSW

Racing Queensland

Sandown Greyhound Racing Club (SGRC)

South Australia Breeders, Owners, Trainers and Reinspersons Association (BOTRA)

South Australian Country Harness Racing Clubs Association 

South Australian Harness Racing Club (SAHRC)

South Australian Harness Racing Pony Association (SAHRPA)

South Australian Jockey Club (SAJC)

South Australian Racehorse Owners' Association (SAROA)

South Australian Racing Clubs Council (SARCC)

South Australian Reinswomens’ Association

South Australian Thoroughbred Breeders (SATB)

Southern Districts Racing Association

Racehorse Owners’ Association Tasmania (ROAT)


The Australian Workers' Union (AWU)

Thoroughbred Breeders Australia (TBA)

Thoroughbred Breeders NSW (TBNSW)

Thoroughbred Breeders Queensland Association

Thoroughbred Breeders Tasmania (TBT)

Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria (TBV)

Thoroughbred Breeders Western Australia (TBWA)

Thoroughbred Racehorse Owners' Association (TROA)

Thoroughbred Racehorse Owners’ Council of Australia

Thoroughbred Racing Northern Territory (TRNT)

Thoroughbred Racing SA (TRSA)

United Harness Racing Association (UHRA)

Victoria Racing Club

Victorian Bookmakers’ Association (VBA)

Victorian Harness Racing Sports Club

Victorian Jockeys’ Association (VJA)

Victorian Square Trotters Association

Victorian Trainers and Drivers Association (VTDA)

Victorian Trainers’ Association

West Australian Harness Racing Breeders, Owners, Trainers and Reinspersons Association (BOTRA)

Western Australian Jockeys’ Association (WAJA)

Western Australian Provincial Thoroughbred Racing Association

Western Australian Racehorse Owners' Association (WAROA)

Western Australian Racing Trainers’ Association (WARTA)

Western Australian Standardbred Breeder’s Association (WASBA)

Western Racing Association

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment, 2017, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal

  • by ANZSIC 3 digit industry, employment projections to May 2022
    • 912 Horse and Dog Racing Activities
  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations, employment projections to May 2022
    • Livestock Farm Workers
    • Animal Attendants and Trainers
    • Sportspersons
    • Greenkeepers
    • Sports Coaches, Instructors and Officials.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, Employed persons by Industry group of main job (ANZSIC), sex, state and territory, November 1984 onwards, 6291.0.55.003 - EQ06, viewed 1 September 2017 <>

  • Employed total by ANZSIC 3 digit industry, 2000 to 2017, May Quarter
    • 912 Horse and Dog Racing Activities.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, 2016 Census – employment, income and unpaid work, TableBuilder. Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data.

  • Employment level by 3 digit industry, and 4 digit level occupations to identify the relevant VET-related occupations in the industry as a proportion of the total workforce.
    • 912 Horse and Dog Racing Activities.                                                                                       

Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection, Total VET Students and Courses from the following training package or qualifications:

  • RGR Racing Training Package
    • RGR10108 - Certificate I in Racing (Stablehand)
    • RGR20108 - Certificate II in Racing (Stablehand)
    • RGR20208 - Certificate II in Racing (Kennelhand)
    • RGR20213 - Certificate II in Racing (Greyhound)
    • RGR30108 - Certificate III in Racing (Trackrider)
    • RGR30208 - Certificate III in Racing (Advanced Stablehand)
    • RGR30308 - Certificate III in Racing Services (Racing Administration)
    • RGR30408 - Certificate III in Racing Services (Cadet Steward)
    • RGR30508 - Certificate III in Racing Services (Track Maintenance)
    • RGR40108 - Certificate IV in Racing (Racehorse Trainer)
    • RGR40208 - Certificate IV in Racing (Jockey)
    • RGR40308 - Certificate IV in Racing (Harness Race Driver)
    • RGR40408 - Certificate IV in Racing (Greyhound Trainer)
    • RGR40508 - Certificate IV in Racing Services (Racing Administration)
    • RGR40608 - Certificate IV in Racing Services (Steward)
    • RGR50108 - Diploma of Racing (Racehorse Trainer)
    • RGR50208 - Diploma of Racing Services (Racing Administration)
    • RGR50308 - Diploma of Racing Services (Steward).

This includes superseded qualifications and training packages.

Data covers a range of selected student and training characteristics in the following categories and years:

  • 2014, 2015, 2016 program enrolments
  • 2014, 2015, 2016 subject enrolments
  • 2014, 2015, 2016 program completions.

Total VET students and courses data is reported for the calendar year. Program enrolments are the qualifications, courses and skill sets in which students are enrolled in a given period. For students enrolled in multiple programs, all programs are counted. Program completion indicates that a student has completed a structured and integrated program of education or training. Location data uses student residence. Subject enrolment is registration of a student at a training delivery location for the purpose of undertaking a module, unit of competency or subject. For more information on the terms and definitions, please refer to the Total VET students and courses: terms and definitions document. 

Low counts (less than 5) are not reported to protect client confidentiality.

Percentages are rounded to one decimal place. This can lead to situations where the total sum of proportions in a chart may not add up to exactly 100%.

Racing Training Package apprentice and trainee data has been extracted from the National Apprentice and Trainee Collection, including:

  • 2010 to 2016 commencements
  • 2010 to 2016 completions 
  • 2016 apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2016 collection, by qualification and state and territory of data submitter.

Priority skills data have been extracted from the Racing IRC Skills Forecast and Proposed Schedule of Work 2017—2020.  

Updated: 11 Oct 2018
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