NAFBAE express dismay at Farriery Training System.

For farriers to raise concerns with elected Farriers Registration Council representative Peter Baker. Anonymous postings will be deleted.
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NAFBAE express dismay at Farriery Training System.

Postby PNB » Tue Sep 26, 2006 3:54 am


Below is a letter from the past President of NAFBAE Les Armstrong about the attitude of the FRC towards its ATF's.

This is followed by the response from Miles Williamson Noble.


Quote:- 16th August 2004

Mr Miles Williamson-Noble
The Farriers Registration Council
Sefton House, Adam Court
Newark Road

Dear Miles,

NAFBAE had scheduled an informal Meeting of ATF’s on 1st August to ascertain problems that our ATF members have experienced, with a view to formally present these problems to yourself in the hope that they will be addressed. You will be aware that some issues, particularly that of funding, I have raised with you in the past to little or no avail. However, with the mandate of our membership, should dissatisfaction still remain, we may well have to make alternative representations to seek a redress. However, I hope that this will not be necessary. I feel it must be considered also, that the concerns raised are not only for the benefit of the ATF’s but also the apprentices who, by the good grace of FTS, are all members of our Association.

The most pressing points of the many issues raised were as follows:-

1. ATF Renewal Certificate
Our members’ first concern was regarding the ATF renewal certificate. The certificate should be renewed 12 months prior to expiry, not having to be valid until the expiry of the apprenticeship. The current is valid for 10 years, however the FTS will not accept it’s validity beyond 6 years time. This is a ridiculous sign of distrust towards ATF’s by the FTS.

It was the feeling of the meeting that the FTS should fully stand the cost of this, the meeting did, however, note your preparedness of flexibility as to time scales, which was welcomed.
Question, will this request be acquiesced to?

2. ATF Funding
As I have mentioned on numerous occasions, ATF’s are the only parties that actually carry out training of apprentice farriers, yet the lack of funding that they receive is an absolute outrage. An amount of £300 for he successful completion of the first College attendance, I am sorry is totally inadequate and moreover is unacceptable. Further, the FTS have over the years formulated various procedures which have resulted in considerable burdens to the ATF’s and some of which have provided little or nothing to the quality of training, and in some cases have indeed been an impediment to it. If their time is monopolised in bureaucratic discharge, it will detract from the time available to train. Question, will the FTS provide adequate funding to ATF’s to assist them with the training apprentices in the future?

3. CRB Checks
Contrary to previous advise from your Department, I am advised that the Criminal Records Bureau check is not al legal requirement for ATF’s. Again the meeting universally felt that the FTS should fully fund this requirement and moreover that any existing criminal record for a proposed apprentice should also be checked, particularly given that the FTS expect the candidate in the least to be welcomed into the Master’s home, workplace and the premises of their clients with substantial trust that this situation requires. It should be noted however that the ATF’s are not adverse to the CRB checks being made.
Question, will the first facet of this matter be funded and will the second facet of this matter be acquiesced to?

4. Pre Farriery Courses
The general feeling of the meeting was that the pre-farriery courses are failing to provide suitably inducted applicants. There does appear to be an overemphasis on academic requirements in a candidate as opposed to those having practical skills ability. A minimum practical achievement level should be specified to the colleges and an applicant should not be considered until the specified level is achieved in a pre-ordained time scale for the task.
Question, will this problem be addressed?

5. Apprentice Relocation
It was noted that the existing system fails both the apprentice and the ATF. It was also universally considered that it is far too easy for apprentices to be relocated to new masters and it was felt that it should be mandatory that any apprentice being relocated should be set back one year not only to deter a breach in contract of the indentureship which has been so lightly allowed in the past, but more importantly, not only to accommodate and previous skill shortfall or failure in their training, but also to facilitate a safe and proper induction into their new working environment. This is seen as a health and safety issue. It would also discharge a duty of care to the apprentice.
Question, will this request be acquiesced to?

These five points were absolutely by no means the only concerns of our ATF members but have been limited such so as to afford them to be correctly addressed and commented upon. The meeting also felt that it should be expected that at the meeting on 25th the full Council should be present as a matter at least of best practice and duty of care together with members of the decision making process of the FTS and JFTC.

I further noted from our meeting that to expect ATF’s to demonstrate simple forging skills when they already have a proven tack record of either training apprentices or even competition accolades, is an affront to say the least. Surely a CPD record proving the ability should suffice and save the ATF the ignominy of having to forfeit at least half a day’s work and turnover to demonstrate the simple skill for which the individual may already be nationally renowned. The meeting did, however, acknowledge that there are some failing ATF’s who need to be censured but in a manner that does not cause a further burden to the many successful training provides that exist.

What struck me as an over riding theme throughout our meeting, was the lack of trust in the accuracy of information that comes from the FRC and its sister bodies, and this is putting it politely. The Trade has a right to expect accuracy of statement, particularly when they are advised that an issue is a legal requirement. I do know mistakes are made but when they are, they should be openly admitted and redressed. I am further aware that yourself, as Registrar, have often been the target for unfair criticism as by and large it is my belief that you fulfil a difficult task to the greater good of our industry for which I have thanked you in the past, and do so again. However, there are some serious injustices, particularly regarding training funding, and I will stand firm with the backing of the NAFBAE Executive Committee, to see that these injustices are resolved and hopefully this will ease the road to recovery from what is now indisputably seen to be a failing system, which in the least has not been helped by the NVQ system and the modern apprenticeship scheme which was so objected to by the then existing craftsmen in the workplace at the time of their implementation.

Given this letter covers some of the serious concerns of our membership, I feel it must be considered to be an open letter and not just privy to the parties to whom it is addressed. NAFBAE has a policy of openness and transparency, which is also an absolute requirement of Government department, and in accordance with which I request that this letter is copied to all members of the Registration Council, the FTS and JFTC.

If I can assist in any way, myself, the NAFBAE Executive Committee and our members, will be willing to cooperate for the benefit of our industry and our members in general.

May I extend my best wishes for a constructive, convivial and productive meeting.

Yours sincerely

Les Armstrong A.W.C.F. A.W.C.B.

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Postby PNB » Tue Sep 26, 2006 3:58 am

Miles Williamson Noble replies.


This letter tells you of important changes in the requirements for ATF Certification. These have been made by the Farriers Registration Council (Council) as a result of concerns expressed and arguments put at an open meeting on 25th August 2004, chaired by the Chairman of the Joint Farriery Training Committee (JFTC), to which you and all other ATFs were invited. Views expressed at this meeting were considered by the JFTC at its meeting on 15 September, and recommendations were then made to Council and considered at its meeting on 11 November. Following extensive debate at a meeting open to the public, Council came to a number of conclusions and the staff have been instructed to put them into effect immediately. The main concerns and the Council's response to them are summarised below. (Decisions are in bold type).

Underperforming ATFs
The concern was that the requirement that all ATFs had to take the L11 Course (Enable Training through Demonstrations and Instruction) and pass a shoemaking test before they proposed their next apprentice penalised good ATFs instead of the minority of ATFs who were underperforming.

1. Underperforming ATFs. The JFTC and FTS staff will work together to develop ways of identifying underperforming ATFs. The measures should be evidence based and should take into account factors such as apprentices referred from college for failing assessments, apprentices back-coursed, field officer and college reports etc. If you have any suggestions as to how these measures could be developed please let Colin Gregg know as soon as possible. Existing ATFs will not now be required to take the L11 or the shoemaking test before proposing a new apprentice. They may be required to do so if they are identified as underperforming, and will have to do so before 1 January 2009 (see below).

Ten year validity of ATF Certificate
The concern was that the requirement to take the L11 and shoe making tests effectively curtailed the 10 year validity of the ATF Certificate to 6yrs.

2. L11 Course. The L11 course is considered to be important continuing professional development (CPD) for ATFs. Feedback from those who have already attended the course, including some very experienced ATFs, is that they found it useful or very useful. Council nevertheless accepted that the immediacy of the requirement could cause problems for existing ATFs. It was therefore decided that any ATF not already holding the L11 or equivalent will be expected to obtain the qualification by 1 January 2009 if he/she wishes to continue training. This gives 4 years’ notice and is based on 10 years from when the ATF Certificate was first introduced. Those who have a comparable recognised teaching or coaching qualification such as an Armed Forces Instructional Techniques Course, or the Certificate in Education will be exempted, but this does not apply to assessor qualifications such as the D32 or A1 which are different in nature.

3. Shoemaking Assessment. The old ATF Course did not call for a standard of shoemaking any better than making a shoe that was safe to fit to a horse. Council feels that those who are teaching apprentices to pass the NVQ and the DipWCF need to be able to make shoes to a higher standard than this, and so introduced the requirement to be able to make one fire-forged _ fullered straight bar shoe and one fullered concave hunter shoe in 1 hour 30 minutes. Arguments that farriers holding higher level qualifications should be exempted were considered, but were countered by arguments that such qualifications could have been acquired many years ago and in such cases standards might not have been maintained. Furthermore there are many farriers who can make shoes to the highest standards but who do not hold the higher level qualifications. As a result, Council decided that all ATFs must complete the shoemaking assessment by 1 January 2009 at the latest. In order to minimise time away from work and the costs involved, the shoemaking assessments will be run in the afternoon of the second day of the FRC arranged L11 Courses.

Dates for ATF and L11 courses, and for shoemaking assessments are published in each issue of the Farriers Bulletin, the next issue of which is due out shortly.

Although you now have 4 years in which to complete the additional requirements, Council would urge you to fulfil them as soon as possible. The sooner you complete the L11, the sooner you will benefit from its teaching, and not all ATFs will be able to take all the tests in the last few months of 2008. Do not forget that the L11 Course counts as CPD and under current arrangements existing ATFs can be refunded half the cost of the course, whether they take it through the FRC or through a private training provider.

Criminal Record Bureau (CRB) Checks

There was a long discussion at the Council Meeting about whether CRB checks should be required for all farriers, for ATFs only, or for no farriers. The Council's legal adviser, Judith Chrystie, was present and gave helpful advice. In particular, it was made clear that there is no legal requirement for CRB checks to be made; that only the Disciplinary Committee has the power to decide, in any individual case, whether a criminal conviction of any kind should lead to removal of a farrier from the Register; and that the Council itself has no power to fetter the discretion of the Disciplinary Committee. The discussion raised a number of supplementary issues on which further thought was needed. A special meeting of Council to discuss only CRB issues has therefore been convened for 6:30pm on Wednesday 15 December 2004 at 128 Piccadilly, London. This meeting will be open to members of the public but if you wish to attend it is essential that you contact the offices of the FRC beforehand to arrange admission.

The current arrangements for CRB checks for new and existing ATFs will continue until further notice.

I am sorry that it was not possible to resolve all the outstanding issues on 11th November but I hope you will understand that this is because Council is very anxious to ensure that it reaches the right decisions rather than the fastest ones. If you have any queries about the above requirements, or want to ask about possible exemptions, please feel free to telephone the Assistant Registrar, Felicity Heather, and ask for guidance.

Yours sincerely

S M D Williamson-Noble

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Postby PNB » Tue Sep 26, 2006 1:14 pm


Funny isn't it the response was to a different meeting convened on 25th August 2006 some 10 days after Les sent his letter.!! Don't quite add up or does it??

The response of MC then chair of FRC was somewhat different again.

Am I missing something??


cliff barnes
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Postby cliff barnes » Tue Sep 26, 2006 8:20 pm


check the dates on the letters my friend......

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Postby PNB » Wed Sep 27, 2006 5:27 am


Thank you for your comment.

Les wrote on the 16th Aug 04 , MWN replied AFTER 11 Nov 04.

I don't quite understasnd what you mean.

The point I was making was the comments from the president were regarding the historical situation reported to the NAFBAE president by the craft on 1st August 04, the reply was some 3 months later, it seems to completely accept the historical facts just as the NAFBAE membership presented them to be the case, just as the president stated them to be. " NOT WORKING, INEFFICIENT, OVER BEUROCRATIC, NO MONEY WELL £300 FOR THE DISRUPTION TO THE ATF, [EVEN THAT HAS BEEN WITHDRAWN NOW]"!!

Here is the big rub reported at LANTRA yesterday [see CSC above], which I feel may well cause a total upheaval in the FTA and the ATF Field training system. Very soon you, the ATF will have to foot half the training costs of your apprentices. Cliff are you happy to do that when FTA , currently a satilite of FRC keep such a vast amount of it for their administrative ends?? maybe even as much as 70%. Will this again open up the likely hood of fully college based farriery training system, [Thanks for that TD, and your best wishes].

Lets get back to the present, 2 years on from NAFBAE's letter, your elected member of council simply asks, "HAS ANYTHING CHANGED". The response to the UKHSU flyer and the multiple phone calls it stimulated seem to indicate the Control and Bureaucracy has Multiplied not receded. How is it with you Cliff??

How will it be for you when at the current rates it appears you will have to stump up an extra £5k for each apprentice you employ on top of everything NAFBAE reports above??


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Postby csc » Wed Sep 27, 2006 6:27 am

peter you sometimes talk a load of crap the reason that a.t.f.s. will have to fund apprentices is because the government wont payanything,nothing to do with f.t.a. yes it will probably mean less apprentices will that be a bad thing? your postings seem to be long winded and quite onestly i carnt understand what you are wafling and geting on your hight horse about cant any one else?

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Postby PNB » Wed Sep 27, 2006 5:45 pm


The latest figures show it costs £9800K for each apprentice, of which close to 70% is spent other than paying college fees. In the vast part by FTA. We are told by them that this is in order to satisfy the NVQs funding providers and on other administrative systems. FTA are looking at ways of reducing the cost of an apprenticeship in farriery. Quote todays Sefton House News, "This may entail a number of changes to the structure of the apprenticeship", this is the bit that seems to tell the story!!

If changes to the structure of the apprenticeship can be made to effect cost savings during the apprenticeship now, would it not follow that similar changes should have been made before this critical stage was reached??

The question has to be asked, should this have happened in the interests of prudent budgeting before now??

Stuart, the total pot of money the government fronts up is immaterial if the money is used in an unnecessary way. You and all other farriers have to live within the constraints of their earnings, the same must apply to an institution, surely.


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Postby Giles » Wed Sep 27, 2006 6:28 pm

Do you think that the apprenticeship could be reduced to a NVQ modern apprenticeship only ? Don’t forget this is the one that we voted against. Instead of altering the current apprenticeship, why don’t they simply reduce the other costs ? of course it does men a reduction the FTS empire, but that could be a good thing. Then again if there is going to be a reduction in the money anyway and half to be supplied by the ATF, why not cut out the NVQ’s and revert to the old type apprenticeship which worked anyway. and of course the college content could be paid by the apprentice. The whole system was administered by the WCF i.e one man and a lady in the back room.

john ford
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Postby john ford » Wed Sep 27, 2006 8:30 pm

Surely if government grants are to be stopped, an apprentice could pay his own fees like the mature apprentice does now. Without grants we could do away with the cost of verifiers for one, and also the cost of administration by FTA would be halved.

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Postby PNB » Thu Sep 28, 2006 4:27 am


Costs have to be cut no doubt Sefton House News said so yesterday. With a little imagination could the FTA be disbanded?? Could that whole layer of high cost beurocarcy be described as unnecessary?? Could the educational establishments look after the farriery students needs and government requirements as they do in every other field except Farriery?? RDC did so in the past!!

THE MATHMATICS, £9800 is the current cost of an apprenticeship, close to 70% goes on FTA costs [£6500] fact. It seems that if the FTA costs is taken out: £ 6500 out of the £9800, £3300 the college spend cost element remains.

Without the FTA costs, if 3300 is the college cost per apprentice, there would remain £1600 of the £4900[predicted grant figure for the near future] of government funding for the apprenticeships to be administered by a more necessary cost efficient route.

Could this £1600 be used by the colleges directly or even another outside agency to administer the training?? Is the service given by FTA to expensive?? Has the service offered by FTA been formally tendered for??

Does this mean it would be prudent for FRC to explore the possibilities of removing FTA and its related expense out the equation?? [But of course that is why FTS has been changed to FTA, but its not happening!! I understand the funding agency won't play ball, maybe direct acess to a grant is a problem].

Would this move mean the colleges could still have the £3300 for their student fees and what is left of the government grant, £1600 for admin cost??

Would that mean the ATFs need not pay anything??

Could this not as a test run be applied to mature apprentices immediately?? thereby reducing the cost to them to half what they currently pay!!

The questions I need to be answered are.

Is the FTA really necessary??

How efficient is FTA??

Could the colleges administer AMAs within a budget of £1600 per student??

If not how much do they need?? [Inter college competition to tender must be strong].

Would each college need to administer it own students??

When a costings project is undertaken, can it be done at Sefton House??

Assuming the above suggested matrix, could FRC still be the training provider and act as stake holder??

Last edited by PNB on Sat Sep 30, 2006 4:32 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Postby csc » Thu Sep 28, 2006 5:20 am

no one knows who will have to pay but it will be interesting to see if the f.t.a. cut back
they will have no excuse not to as they have always claimed that it is government policys that enure they have staff levels therefore if government reduces income they no longer can say that there staff levels are necesary,

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