TAKING advantage of the 12 month-old 'shearing shed of the future' at Arrow Park, Brocklehurst north of Dubbo, some 18 shearers and wool handlers went back into training.
It was all about improving their skills so they can take advantage of the influx of work if New Zealand shearers are not allowed into Australia due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Australian Wool Innovation's national manager of wool harvesting training and development, Craig French, said the concern that the woolgrowing industry may not have NZ shearers was the impetus to conduct the training workshop last Saturday.
"It looks unlikely that New Zealand staff will come over, so we need to run these workshops to get our shearers and wool handlers working more effectively as they'll be more sought after," Mr French said.
It was also apt that the workshop was held in the newly designed woolshed built on two years of extensive industry consultation facilitated by Peter Schuster of Schuster Consulting Group, Dubbo, and research by world shearing champion Hilton Barrett now used as the AWI woolshed blueprint featuring among other things a straight drag on a sloped-floor.
Mr French said shearing was an essential service and keeping industry workers up-to-date with techniques and health and safety was very necessary.
"Our first workshop here was 12 months ago and one shearer who was shearing 70 to 80 sheep a day prior to that day's training, shore his first 100 sheep last month and came back to learn more.
"Riley Ross of Parkes is now shearing better than ever and gaining decent tallies with his skills learnt from the AWI workshop.
"He's shearing more sheep and doing it easier."
AWI shearing instructors on the day included Ross Thompson, Mike Pora and Bill Hutcheson while wool handlers were trained by current Australian champion Racheal Hutcheson of Gilgandra and all COVID-19 precautions were practiced.
Mr French said anyone in Australia interested in participating in a workshop can simply phone the AWI Australia-wide hotline 1800SHEARS and he would direct them to their closest AWI trainer.
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