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TAFE NSW’s practical short courses are providing fast career pathways into the booming wool industry as a nationwide worker shortage continues to drive demand for shearers in the New England region.
Cory Nordstrom from Uralla has switched careers from a chef to a shearer, undertaking a Statement of Attainment in Introduction to Wool Handling and a Statement of Attainment in Improver Shearer Skills at TAFE NSW.
The short courses gave the 24-year-old the practical skills on the tools to start working for shearing contractors in Armidale and the New England region, and he hasn’t looked back since.
“I didn’t know how to shear a sheep until I went to TAFE NSW – now I’m shearing over 200 a day,” Cory said.
“My father was a shearer and I wanted to get back onto the land and into the wool industry, but he told me I needed to go to TAFE NSW to get the right experience. I got taught all the basics to start work and those practical skills have been the foundation for my whole career.”
Cory’s father, Scott Nordstrom, couldn’t be prouder of his son’s career change.
“I was so surprised when Cory chose to follow the same career path as me. I could have taught him, but he wouldn’t have the advanced skills he has today if he didn’t study at TAFE NSW,” Mr Nordstrom said.
“The industry is growing and changing rapidly, and shearing is now seen as a sport not just a job. Cory has a bright future ahead of him thanks to TAFE NSW and I’m excited to see where it takes him.”
According to the Federal Government’s Job Outlook agency, strong growth is expected for shearers in the coming years, with employment numbers to increase to 7,100 jobs nationally by 2024.
The Australian shearing industry was hit hard by COVID-19 in 2020 and the abrupt end to New Zealanders being able to meet the nation’s demand for skilled workers.
Cory said he has been working six days a week and could do more as demand is so high.
“There is so much work out there, and I’m looking forward to travelling to Western Australia and New Zealand when the borders open to keep learning and working,” Cory said.
“I really love shearing and I’m so thankful I have been able to follow my passion. I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing today without TAFE NSW.”
Explore hundreds of courses and pursue your passion with life-changing training at TAFE NSW. For more information visit www.tafensw.edu.au or phone 131 601.
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