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AWI-funded in-shed wool harvesting courses
The new six-stand Jamestown Shearer Training Centre, South Australia: AWI funded an improver/advanced ‘Shear n Gear’ workshop on the day before a five-day training course in June, co-funded with SCAA Shearer Woolhandler Training with assistance from the Jamestown Show Sheep & Wool Committee.
AWI funds training for shearers and wool handlers to attract and retain new entrants into the wool harvesting industry, build the capacity and longevity of existing staff, and increase returns to woolgrowers through improved clip preparation practices.
Adequate numbers of highly skilled professional staff to harvest and handle a high-quality Australian wool clip in a timely manner are key to the profitability of the Australian wool industry.
AWI therefore funds hands-on practical training for shearers and wool handlers in the shed, aimed at increasing their productivity, skills development and professionalism. Training covers a wide range of experience, from learner to professional shearers and novice to professional wool handlers.
In the 2020/21 financial year, 1,614 days training were delivered (with more than 4,143 attendances by shearers and wool handlers) through AWI-funded programs across Australia.
Due to the current shortage of and demand for shearers, there is a concerted effort to run extra novice and improver schools and workshops, funded by AWI and several state governments.
Best practice in shearing sheds results in a high-quality wool clip and the health and wellbeing of both professionals and sheep.
AWI thanks all the woolgrowers who provide their facilities and sheep, and all the other organisations and individuals that lend their time and resources to help run this training.
More information: To arrange training in your state, phone AWI on 1800 SHEARS or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Training is providing results but more is needed
A recent survey of (mainly) shearing contractors across Australia has revealed that more than 70% of all training in shearing sheds across the country was undertaken by AWI-funded trainers. The results also indicate that training is well appreciated.
- 94% said the training was delivered in a timely manner.
- 71% rated the quality of the training 5/5, while a further 20% rated it 4/5.
- 63% were “very satisfied” with the training, while a further 27% were “satisfied”.
However, the survey indicated that there is still a need for more training, with 71% intending to have some training in the next 12 months. Furthermore, a lack of training opportunities (ie not enough schools) is viewed by respondents as the second largest barrier to attracting and keeping new workers in the wool harvesting industry.
The working conditions in sheds was seen as the primary barrier, especially in NSW. Seen as less of a barrier were the cost to contractors of employing a novice shearer and the lack of recognised qualifications after completing training.
The national survey was run during April by AWI and the WA Shearing Industry Association (WASIA); there were 139 respondents, across all states.
This article appeared in the September 2021 edition of AWI’s Beyond the Bale magazine. Reproduction of the article is encouraged, however prior permission must be obtained from the Editor.