TAFE NSW graduate Nicki Guttler is living her dream life travelling around Australia shearing sheep and earning good coin in an industry crying out for more workers.
The Australian shearing industry has long been experiencing a skills shortage, only made worse by COVID-19 and an abrupt end to New Zealanders being able to meet the nation’s demand for skilled workers.
Nicki said her skills are always sought-after and she is currently working in Tasmania.
“Australia has always lacked shearers, but international workers have covered that shortage until now,” Nicki said.
“I don’t think anyone realised just how short of shearers we are in Australia until COVID happened. If you want to work hard and earn good money, and you want the chance to travel around the state, the country and the world, it’s a great job.”
The 27-year-old grew up in the tiny Riverina town of Lockhart on a sheep and cropping farm, and always knew that shearing was the career for her. She completed a Certificate II in Shearing at TAFE NSW Wagga Wagga in 2015 and her star has been on the rise ever since.
In 2020, Nicki won the blade shearing teams event at the Golden Shears – the world’s premier shearing and wool-handling championship in New Zealand – and had the privilege of competing alongside renowned World Champion blade shearer Allan Oldfield.
“That was an absolute career highlight – to come home with a Golden Shears ribbon is something not many Australians have, let alone an Australian woman, and least of all for blade shearing,” she said.
“I also came 14th overall in my individual division, which was a huge achievement, and I’m really inspired to keep learning and competing. My next goal is to represent NSW at the Australian championships.”
Earlier this year, Nicki attended an Advanced Shearing School at TAFE NSW Dubbo to further hone her shearing techniques with industry experts.
“At an Advanced Shearing School, the trainers help you improve your technique and look after your body, your fitness and your mind. It’s about fine tuning your shearing in every way,” Nicki explained.
“TAFE NSW Dubbo has expert trainers that are known in the industry and have been state and Australian champions themselves. I admire their success and I admire their style of shearing. I loved having the opportunity to learn from them.”
Nicki said TAFE NSW is the perfect stepping-stone for anyone who wants to get work in the shearing industry, which is crying out for workers and is primed for continued strong growth in coming years.
The Federal Government’s Job Outlook predicts total employment numbers will increase to 7,100 jobs nationally by 2024.
“TAFE NSW is great at providing the hands-on training you need on the tools to get your foot in the door,” Nicki said.
“TAFE NSW teaches you all the practical, foundational skills to go out and get work. If you’re committed and willing to work, then you’ve got a great career.”
Explore hundreds of courses at TAFE NSW and pursue your passion with life-changing training. For more information visit www.tafensw.edu.au or phone 131 601.
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