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Locals ‘flock’ to TAFE NSW Dubbo amid wool jobs boom


Locals ‘flock’ to TAFE NSW Dubbo amid wool jobs boom

Australia’s peak wool marketing body has welcomed strong demand for wool classing training at TAFE NSW Armidale as the industry confronts a growing skills gap.


TAFE NSW has seen demand surging for the Certificate IV in Wool Classing this semester, with record enrolments across a number of campuses in the region.


Australian Wool Exchange (AWEX) registrar Fiona Raleigh welcomed the renewed interest, saying there was growing pressure on wool harvesting staff numbers across the state.


“It’s great news that TAFE NSW is helping train the next generation of workers because there’s been a lot of pressure on the industry to find enough registered wool classers,” Ms Raleigh said.


“The fact there are more campuses offering wool classing and the courses are fee-free will make a big difference to the industry.”


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 Agribusiness Kerri Capill said TAFE NSW Dubbo is giving aspiring wool classers the practical skills and experience to make an immediate impact on the industry.


“As we experience a generational shift, we’re seeing wool harvesting staff retire providing opportunity for the next generation to take their place, and TAFE NSW has stepped up to meet the skills needs of the industry in both wool classing and shearing,” Ms Capill said.


“We’re offering a course that is a lot more accessible to students’ lifestyles, with the theory component done online and with several practical skills blocks a month at Dubbo during our shearing schools.


“We have the facilities to provide fully simulated workplace experience, especially for students who prefer the training away from their usual work environment. The course can now also be done in 12 months, rather than two years.”


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


Dejannah Harvey is one of dozens of female students to take advantage of the fee-free course. Having grown up on a Merino stud in the Central West, Ms Harvey enrolled in the Certificate IV in Wool Classing to broaden her skills and career prospects.


“I started rousing five years ago and I noticed that a lot of the wool classers were retiring and locals were having to get wool classers in from West Wyalong so I jumped at the opportunity to gain my qualification and provide wool classing services to farmers in my region,” Ms Harvey said.


“Growing up a lot of the farmers and shearers around me were men, but now that I’m working in the industry, I’m seeing more and more women, whether that be managing farms, jillaroos or female shearers smashing world records – we are definitely taking the industry by storm.


“Now that I’m finished, I look forward to wool classing for sheds in my local area and getting some more experience before travelling around Australia and seeing this beautiful country of ours. Eventually I’d like to settle down and work in a wool store.”