COVID protocols postpone shearing labour shortage workshop

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Bob GarnantCountryman
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WA Shearing Industry Association had planned a full day workshop at the Food, Fibre and Timber Industries Training Council WA office in Victoria Park today.
Camera IconWA Shearing Industry Association had planned a full day workshop at the Food, Fibre and Timber Industries Training Council WA office in Victoria Park today. Credit: Daniel Wilkins

The State Government’s three-day COVID-19 restrictions have scuttled plans for an important shearing industry workshop set to be held in Perth today.

WA Shearing Industry Association had planned a full-day workshop at the Food, Fibre and Timber Industries Training Council WA office in Victoria Park today to nut out solutions to attracting new entrants to the shearing industry.

WASIA president Darren Spencer said a wide range of stakeholders were expected to attend and discuss ways to drive the industry forward.

Food, Fibre and Timber Industries Training Council WA project manager Paul Etheredge.
Camera IconFood, Fibre and Timber Industries Training Council WA project manager Paul Etheredge. Credit: Bob Garnant/Countryman, Bob Garnant

This included the Department of Education, Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, WA College of Agriculture — Narrogin, South Regional TAFE, Australian Wool Innovation, Muresk Institute, and the Food, Fibre and Timber Industries Training Council WA.

However, with the latest COVID-19 stage one restrictions put in place across the Perth and Peel regions on Sunday, Mr Spencer and WASIA decided to cancel the workshop and reschedule it for two to three weeks’ time.

“We decided it may be too difficult to organise the workshop at such a late stage and maintain COVID protocols,” Mr Spencer said.

“The workshop will be rescheduled in two to three weeks.

“Some of the things we will be looking at are the ways we can encourage and keep learners in the wool industry.”

Ahead of the workshop, Mr Spencer led roundtable discussions at the WASIA annual meeting on Saturday in Perth and came up with some recommendations to form part of the workshop discussions.

FFTITC project manager Paul Etheredge, who spoke about training and employment at WASIA’s annual meeting, said the first-of-its-kind workshop was to discuss the whole development plan for the shearing industry.

“We are hoping to come up with an agreed and shared understanding of how to develop wool harvesting staff in the WA workforce,” he said.

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