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Welcome to Peter Ablett,
New FTA Training Director

Peter Ablett  

The Training Director of the FTA, Miles Williamson-Noble, has now retired. Peter Ablett started as the Training Director Designate on 2 June 2008 to commence a three month hand-over. Peter will formally begin his new role as Training Director on 3 September 2008.

Before Peter came to FTA, he was the Chief Executive of the ‘Council for the Registration of Forensic Practitioners’ (CRFP) – a role not too dissimilar from the Registrar of the FRC, apart from there is no Forensic Scientists Registration Act. Prior to that, he held a number of senior roles in Police Training, which involved work-based learning across the UK - again, very similar to the FTA.

You have been the ‘Training Director Designate’ for a few months now – has it been an enjoyable time?
“Loving it – absolutely loving it. Everyone I meet in the Farriery Family is so friendly and helpful. The Management Board, FTA and FRC staff could not be more supportive. Most importantly, Miles has shared much of his valuable experience with me, which has been very much appreciated.”

What do you see as being the main challenges for you in your new role?
The main challenges for me are building new and productive relationships – Farriery and the FTA can only move forward in partnership. To make the most of what I can contribute, I need to fully understand people’s fears and aspirations – if there are any barriers to success, then we must overcome them!”

What message would you give to ATFs?
ATFs are fundamentally crucial to the success of the Advanced Apprenticeship in Farriery – we simply could not operate without them. It is important to reflect that the Farriery Apprenticeship Scheme is one of the most successful in the UK, with a Completion Rate of 85%!
“The ATF is at the heart of this long term success story. I shall be doing all I can to support and encourage ATFs – together they are building the future of Farriery and, crucially, protecting the long term needs of equine welfare.”

What message would you give to Apprentices?
From what I have seen so far, our Apprentices represent the very best of our youth today. They are so keen and eager to learn! The energy I have witnessed at Apprentice Shoemaking Competitions has been truly amazing – I am sure they would inspire anyone thinking of becoming a Farrier.
“My key messages to Apprentices would be; always think about the welfare of the equine you are working on and learn all you can from your Master because you cannot put a price on such knowledge and experience. Also, make sure that your working environment is safe and if you have any problems, do not be backward in coming forward. Why can’t we achieve a 100% successful completion rate?”

What are your aims for the FTA in the coming year?
“My main aim for the FTA in the coming year is to concentrate on our strategy; ensuring that it is fit for purpose, fully endorsed and supported by all our partners in the Farriery Family.
“I am very much hoping that we can organise an FTA Stakeholder Conference next year, which will be primarily aimed at ATFs, so that we have an opportunity to share and discuss key themes. We will listen very carefully and if changes need to be made – we will make them.”

How would you describe your approach as ‘Training Director’?
As the new Training Director my approach, and indeed my key responsibility, is protecting equine welfare through knowledge and learning. To achieve that, I must encourage everyone involved in the Advanced Apprenticeship to embrace the highest possible professional standards, and obviously build upon the successful legacy that Miles has given me.
“I hope that everyone will feel free to raise issues with me – I am a great believer in continuous improvement and I also like to hear about achievement and success. Success is not necessarily about what has been achieved, but what has been overcome. Given that 25% of our Apprentices have learning difficulties, I think our efforts to support them should be applauded.”

What words would you say to Miles Williamson-Noble, your predecessor?
“Throughout my career I have been blessed with having worked with some remarkable individuals and I would put Miles in that league. As soon as I walked into Sefton House, I sensed an organisation that was thriving. Everyone at FTA and FRC clearly enjoyed what they were doing and saw real purpose in their daily duties.
“The leadership which Miles has given, has clearly brought about much long term success to the FTA and I am delighted to be following in his footsteps.”

What has been the highlight of your career to date?
“I guess one of the highlights of my career to date goes back to my days as an operational Forensic Scientist, when I brought about the conviction of a serial rapist who had attacked 26 women in the Birmingham area.
“The memory of this case stays with me as it represented to me what I was trying to achieve – making a safer and better world for everyone. To be honest though, I do get a real buzz from seeing young people achieve their aims and ambitions. Every Apprentice that gets to be a Farrier will be a highlight for me.”

What has been the funniest moment of your career to date?
“I very much believe in fun in the workplace and humour is essential in order to keep your sanity, especially in some of the very difficult and emotionally challenging roles I have held.
“On one occasion I turned out to deal with a murder in a high security prison. When reception looked at my Warrant Card which was signed by the Chief Constable they thought I was the Chief Constable! This unfortunate misidentification led to a number of crossed wires but I am pleased to say that the real Chief Constable saw the funny side!”

Who do you feel has inspired you in your career to date?
“I was born lucky; not in wealth but in the riches of the countryside. As a small boy, a close family friend, Peter Howard, taught me horsemanship, hunting, fishing and shooting. Peter was the salt of the earth. In adulthood, the most inspirational person for me has been Sir Ronnie Flanagan, currently Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary, but most would remember him as Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary.
“In my view, his qualities as a leader are unsurpassed and I mean that in every context of human endeavour, not just policing. He once used a forensic science principle; ‘Every Contact Leaves a Trace’, to describe what leadership is really about. I have never forgotten that, and in a way, it says it all about the relationship between ATF and Apprentice.”

Do you have any comments to make about the farriery industry in general?
“Farriers, in my humble opinion, are very unique and very special. The craft can boast a long tradition (not many professions can trace back to 1356!) and the profession is very rich in values. The human race owes the equine species so much for our past successes (‘My Kingdom for a Horse!’), and thankfully now that they are not needed for war or transport, we can focus on sport and pleasure.
“The Farrier is crucial to all of this to ensure that equine welfare is at its highest. Farriery is a tough and sometimes lonely job. I personally would like to see a greater focus on Health and Safety and Occupational Health research for Farriers. Put simply, I would like to see accidents reduced as much as is possible and for Farriers to enjoy long and healthy careers.”

Do you have any further comments?
“Finally I would just like to say how privileged I feel to have been given this opportunity to lead the FTA and contribute to the future of Farriery.”

The FTA staff are pleased to welcome Peter as the new Training Director.

Previous Training Director, Miles Williamson-Noble, said: “Peter stood out as an exceptional candidate for the job of Training Director, and I am delighted that the Management Board chose him to be my replacement.
“Like Peter, I am passionate about farriery and the training of future farriers, and from what I have seen and learnt of Peter’s understanding, capabilities and skills during our handover, he is the ideal person to carry on and develop the excellent farriery Apprenticeship. He brings with him a fresh outlook and new ideas, and just needs the guidance of ATFs and Apprentices in addressing the key areas for improvement. I am sorry to be leaving the world of farriery training, but delighted to be leaving the role of FTA Training Director in the hands of Peter.”

The Chairman of the Management Board, Mr Howard Cooper FWCF Hons, said: “The Board are confident that we have picked the right candidate to take the farriery industry forward.”

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