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Boost for local wool industry as TAFE NSW Corowa offers new course


Boost for local wool industry as TAFE NSW Corowa offers new course

FARMING FOCUS: Australian Wool Exchange (AWEX) registrar Fiona Raleigh says there is growing pressure on wool harvesting staff numbers across the state.

19 February 2024

Corowa locals will be given the hands-on skills and practical knowledge to tap into the booming wool industry as part of a course being offered for the first time at TAFE NSW Corowa this month.

Enrolments are now open for the Certificate IV in Wool Classing, which comes after extensive consultation with local industry and amid soaring demand for wool professionals in the region.

The course will include a 90 minute online theory class each week during term and a practical skills workshop two days each month, split between TAFE NSW Corowa’s Connected Learning Centre and Fox and Lillie wool brokers in Corowa.

Australia’s peak wool marketing body has welcomed the new course, saying it will help the industry confront a growing skills gap.

“It’s great news that TAFE NSW is helping train the next generation of workers in Corowa because there’s been a lot of pressure on the industry to find enough registered wool classers,” Australian Wool Exchange (AWEX) registrar Fiona Raleigh said.

Ms Raleigh said for the first time ever, more female wool classers were graduating from training organisations such as TAFE NSW than males.

TAFE NSW head teacher of agriculture Rob Harris, who has been a wool classer for 43 years, will deliver the course in Corowa and said it will give aspiring wool classers the practical skills and experience to make an immediate impact on the industry.

“A lot of shed staff have been lost over the past few years and so TAFE NSW Corowa has stepped up to support the industry,” Mr Harris said.

“We’re offering a course that is a lot more accessible to students’ lifestyles, with the theory component done online and two practical skills days a month at Corowa. The course can now also be done in 12 months, rather than two years.”

He said graduates were able to gain a stencil and work in the industry immediately after completing the course.

According to the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Greasy wool exporting is one of Australia’s largest export commodities, producing 25 per cent sold on the global wool market. With over 10,000 active wool classers in the country, is an industry that is growing at a rapid pace and requires dedicate experts to meet global demand. 


Media contact: Dan Johns, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist, mobile 0477 722 428