BSc (Hons) Equine Science Graduate Journeys & Destinations: 2006 – 2010.

Rachel Kent, Kirsty Lesniak

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


Introduction: The research currently in place shows that BSc (Hons) Equine Science graduates go into employment both within and outside of the equine industry, displaying the wide range of transferable skills taught on the programme (University of the West of England (UWE), 2011; Hartpury College, 2012). The Council for Industry and Higher Education (CIHE) Graduate Employability research supports this, and shows that employability is not only based on a graduates degree subject or classification but also on skills and capabilities in the workplace (CIHE, 2012; Archer & Davidson, 2008). Despite this, there is still limited research graduate progression for individual programmes, especially those which generally have limited media attention and more vocational degrees with lower employment rates. The main aims of this study were:  To investigate how influential the BSc (Hons) Equine Science degree is on subsequent employment.  To investigate the reliability of the current statistics of graduate employment, specifically the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) statistics.  To identify the development of career routes of BSc (Hons) Equine Science graduates.  Investigate how many graduates go into employment within and outside of the equine industry. Methodology: A questionnaire was sent out to 178 graduates from BSc (Hons) Equine Science who graduated in 2006 (n=32, 8 respondents), 2007 (n=37, 13 respondents), 2008 (n=35, 7 respondents), 2009 (n= 31, 7 respondents) and 2010 (n=43, 10 respondents) from Hartpury College, University of the West of England (UWE). The questionnaire was focused around graduate progression, with a particular focus on the first six months of graduation, and the career changes within this time. Response rate was expected to be low, approximately between 10 and 15 per year. The data was therefore considered nominal and non-parametric and analysis was predominantly descriptive. Results: The transferable skills gained through studying the BSc (Hons) Equine Science qualification remained a key part of respondents’ employment, regardless of how long it had been since graduation. Within the first six months of graduation 2005/6 – 2007/8 graduate respondents were generally split between employment within (43%) or outside of the equine industry, (43%) employed in biological sciences (7%) or enrolled in further study (7%). Statistical analysis showed that there was an increase (2006, n=37 salaries, P > 0.05, 2007, n=38 salaries, P > 0.05, 2008, n=15 salaries, P > 0.05, 2009, n=12 salaries, P > 0.05) in salary year on year for each individual year of graduation, although this was not statistically significant, showing that the increase was gradual. Discussion and Conclusions: Equine degree graduate employment is often misrepresented by university statistics, firstly through association with agricultural or bioscience graduates, secondly by limited data being collected. Transferable skills are obvious in the range of employment opportunities undertaken by graduates. There are high levels of employment for all respondents both within (41%) and outside (41%) of the equine industry as well as employment in biological science (11%) industries. Further study options are vast with many students undertaking further study in a range of environments. Two years after graduation, graduates were more likely to go into employment which required their degree, shown by an increase in students answering that the job required the equine qualification. This contrasts the results of a study undertaken by the Horse and Hound (Gray, 2006) which showed most graduates did not view their degree as an important part of their employment. There is a gradual salary increase, year on year. This was not statistically significant but the results highlighted a limitation of the HESA salary statistics as they only look at the first six months of gradate salary often portraying a poor picture of graduate opportunities within the equine industry. Hartpury College (2012) Equine Science BSc (Hons). [Online] Available from: Accessed: [29/02/2012] Council for Industry and Higher Education (CIHE) (2012) Leadership for Business and Higher Education. [Online] Available from: [Accessed: 01 January 2012] Archer, W., Davison, J. (2008) The Council for Industry and Higher Education. Graduate Employability: What do employers think and want? [Online] Available from: [Accessed: 07/01/2012]. University of the West of England (2008) Destination of leavers from Higher Education – Hartpury [Online]. Available from: [Accessed: 21 October 2011]. Gray, V. (2005) Horse and Hound. Equine Degrees: What are they worth? [Online] Available from: [Accessed: 29/02/2012.]
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Event3rd Alltech Student Conference 2013 - Hartpury College, United Kingdom
Duration: 16 Mar 201316 Mar 2013


Conference3rd Alltech Student Conference 2013
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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