Mowing Skills Give High School Students An Edge On Their Future Jobs | Earth
A shearing shed became a classroom for 16 pupils from Tamworth and Peel secondary schools this week.
Agriculture students raised their hands for free basic training in shearing and wool handling.
The Wool Works Shearing School is an initiative of Regional Development Australia Northern Inland (RDANI) tackling a skills shortage by introducing high school students to wool industry skills.
“Our rural employers are crying out for skilled workers and our teenagers are not always aware of the rewarding, well-paying jobs and training options that exist,” said RDANI President Russell Stewart.
“The industry has given our Wool Works shearing school a boost.”
RDANI executive director Nathan Axelsson said the students ranged from ninth to eleventh grade.
“They were clearly engaged because mowing school is very hands-on and that’s the idea,” he said.
“We were fortunate enough to be able to use the Tamworth Local Aboriginal Land Council’s Trelawney station facilities near Somerton, it’s an ideal location.”
Mr Axelsson said that while RDANI coordinated the Wool Works shearing schools, they could not do it alone.
“The collaborations that make them possible are a big part of their success,” he said.
“We have appreciated the support of TAFE NSW, Australian Wool Innovation and the Tamworth Local Aboriginal Land Council, with a grant from the NSW Government SCCF (Stronger Country Communities Fund).
“Most importantly, we had the expertise and experience of seasoned shearers and wool handlers who provided the training.”
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The trainers, Leo Fittler, Matt Cumming, Ross Thompson and Kim Jenkins have years of experience in the wool industry, shearing, wool handling and training.
“They were able to convey a lot in a few days, thanks to the hands-on approaches taken in our shearing schools,” Axelsson said.
“It wasn’t just an escape from school for a few days, we really put the students to work. By the end of the week we had sheared over 100 sheep, kindly arranged by Thomas Foods International.
“There is a real shortage of shearers and rural workers in general at the moment, so these skills can really translate into employment.
“Mowing and crutches are in-demand skills and once skilled you can earn a lot of money. It’s a job that can lead to travel as well as high-paying jobs in the area.”
Mr Axelsson said local young people who want to work in the agricultural sector need a wide range of skills to make a valuable contribution to local agricultural businesses.
“Just by demonstrating this, we are doing something important, but every participant who could take additional training in mowing is a big win,” he said.
More short-cut schools are planned across the region in 2022.
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