Shear joy for young hopefuls
A Badgingarra shearing and woolhandling school offering beginners’ and improvers’ programs has been labelled a success with some graduates picking up jobs straight after.
The school at the Kenny family’s sheep farm kicked off with 13 beginners on July 19, with the group learning the basics of shearing and woolhandling.
The second week — an improvers’ program which ended on July 30 — was designed to give a few of the graduate beginners the opportunity to advance their skills.
During that week, seven of the beginner students worked alongside five more experienced wool shed staff who were also keen to hone their skills.
It was the first time the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development had hosted an improvers’ program after the beginners’ school.
The Badgingarra school was the seventh WA school funded by Australian Wool Innovation, with support from WA Shearing Industry Association and Heiniger Australia.
DPIRD project officer Tony Gray said the improvers’ week had challenged the students to perfect their technique.
“It also gave the woolhandlers an efficiency challenge as they had to keep up with more advanced shearers that were quicker on the boards,” he said.
Moora student Sophia Narrier spent both weeks at the school to step up her woolhandling skills.
“Now that I have been in a woolshed for two weeks, I’m getting a handle on it,” she said.
“I’ve only worked a few times as a roustabout — I’m hoping to start my career with a full-time job soon.”
AWI trainer Amanda Davis said at least three graduating woolhandlers would fit right into the workforce.
“They have grown so much and built their confidence and belief that they can do the job,” she said.
AWI trainer Kevin Gellatly said the shearer improver students all had previous woolshed jobs, but some were wanting to advance from a roustabout to a shearer.
“We believe every improver is now able to take up a shearing stand either full time or as a apprentice in the contracting workforce,” he said.
Miling student Holly Kingi-Carrington said she had been shearing for three months after taking part in a shearing school at Boyup Brook’s Rylington Park.
“I am shearing very clean and efficient now and learnt to keep my hand piece bottom tooth down while filling the comb up,” she said.
“I have a lot more confidence.”
Moora shearing student Jerome Narrier said he learnt the difficult leg movement required to help the sheep relaxed.
“I have shorn my first sheep and I’m hoping to work alongside my brother who is a shearer,” he said.
“I am confident with the long blows but struggle to shear down the neck where there is loose skin.”
Looking at the freshly-shorn sheep with the students, Mr Gellatly said they were well shorn.
“Heads and backsides are clean and there is no wool hanging down,” he said.
“I am proud of what they have achieved.
“The students were switched on with an understanding of animal welfare.”
Calingiri student Levi Clark said he had worked as a roustabout for two years, but was wanting to up-skill to shearing.
“We learned about sheep positioning and the correct shearing pattern, he said.
“I am fit from crutching sheep before and I’m confident in shearing clean on the skin.”
Andrew Kenny said he was very pleased with how the students shore his family’s Challara blood ewe hoggets.
“I was a shearer full time for eight years in my twenties and I can appreciate how the students have been given an opportunity
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