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A leading Hay shearing contractor says teaching young shearers the right way from the outset can only benefit the industry.
TAFE NSW has moved to help address a chronic shearer shortage in one of the state’s most iconic wool growing areas by reintroducing a popular shearing course.
The Introduction to the Wool Harvesting Industry is a two-week course commencing on 24 June and will be held at Hay’s renowned Shear Outback centre, which also houses the Australian Shearers’ Hall of Fame.
It marks the first time in five years TAFE NSW has offered an introductory shearing course in Hay, a town that has historically ridden on the sheep’s back but been impacted by drought in recent years.
There is currently a national shearer shortage, with the Australian Bureau of Statistics saying there are less than 2500 shearers nationwide, a number that has dropped 13 per cent in the last five years.
“There are few industries as important to Hay as wool growing and there are few professions as quintessentially Australian as shearing,” TAFE NSW Head Teacher of Agriculture Tim Carroll said.
“Speaking with shearing contractors and farmers, there is a real demand for a course like this to attract skilled workers to the employment opportunities in the industry.
“It’s critical aspiring shearers get a good grounding in the basics before they start so they’re efficient and effective in their jobs.”
Mr Carroll said shearing jobs were plentiful locally and a good shearer could earn a healthy wage.
Lionel Garner from Hay shearing contractor Willshear welcomed the reintroduction of the course.
“Young shearers need to be taught properly from the word go so there is certainly a demand for a course like this,” Mr Garner said. “It’s a good business a lot of blokes are clearing more than $100,000 a year as shearers.”
Mr Carroll said the course would suit anyone considering a career in shearing and offered eight units of study, including units in crutching, shearing technique, animal welfare and wool pressing.
He said the course was also an ideal pathway to work or further study at TAFE NSW Hay, particularly in the Certificate II in Shearing.
Shear Outback boasts the magnificent Murray Downs woolshed, affording students the opportunity to learn the hands-on skills in a real-world environment.
To find out more about the Introduction to the Wool Harvesting Industry or any other semester two course at TAFE NSW Hay visit www.tafensw.edu.au.
Media contact: Daniel Johns, TAFE NSW Media and Communications – Business Partner, 6938 1441, mobile 0477 722 428.