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CLASS ACTS: TAFE NSW Hay wool graduates' remarkable job outcome


CLASS ACTS: TAFE NSW Hay wool graduates' remarkable job outcome

CLASS ACT: TAFE NSW Hay wool classing graduate Emilia Browne has been selected to represent NSW at the prestigious Golden Stencil competition at the Sydney Royal Easter Show.

11 March 2024

A TAFE NSW Hay graduating class has achieved a remarkable collective job outcome, with six out of the seven students all landing jobs within weeks of graduating and one class member being selected for the nation’s most prestigious wool classing competition.

In a powerful demonstration of the demand for TAFE NSW graduates, all but one of the 2023 TAFE NSW Hay Certificate IV in Wool Classing group have secured work in local sheds, while student Emilia Browne has just been announced as one of only two NSW representatives at the nation’s premiere wool classing competition, the Golden Stencil.

It comes as the wool industry confronts an industry-wide shortage of wool classers.

Former McDonald’s manager Ms Browne, 22, moved to Hay from country Victoria to pursue her dream of working in the wool industry. After completing the Certificate IV in Wool Classing at TAFE NSW Hay last year, she immediately gained employment with Willshear Hay.

“I’ve just fallen in love with the industry and to be able to study my course fee-free took a lot of the pressure off,” Ms Browne said.

“Working in this industry isn’t just a job, it’s a lifestyle, and it’s such a fast-paced, exciting environment.

“The course was so hands on and relevant to the job, and my teacher is so invested in our success that she’s become a personal mentor to me.”

Ms Browne said she was “humbled” by her selection as a NSW representative at the 2024 Golden Stencil, which will be held at the Sydney Royal Easter Show.

“To be selected was beyond amazing,” she said. “It’s a bit daunting but I want to get to the top of this industry and I’ll take any opportunity thrown at me.”

Certificate IV in Wool Classing graduates can register with the Australian Wool Exchange to receive an Australian classer registration, allowing them to work as registered classes in shearing sheds across Australia.

TAFE NSW Hay wool classing teacher Kayla Garner, who was crowned Australian National Wool Handling Champion in 2013 and has nearly 20 years’ experience as a wool classer, said TAFE NSW graduates in the industry were in high demand.

“The overwhelming majority of our wool graduates walk straight into jobs and the industry offers a great lifestyle and opportunity to earn good money,” Ms Garner said.

Ms Garner said graduates typically found work as wool classers or wool brokers, assessing the quality of fleece or estimating its value and on-selling it.

Hay is at the centre of what is regarded as one of the best merino wool-growing regions in Australia, with 26 studs found on the Riverine Plains.

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