“The challenge is to foster and maintain professionalism in the shearing and wool handling industry and ensure a reliable, healthy and available workforce which will then support wool supply and quality.”
Australian Wool Innovatioon (AWI) CEO, Stuart McCullough
Australian Wool Innovation’s (AWI) Shearer and Wool Handler Training program was developed to address the persistent labour shortages in the wool industry and support regional employment.
Shearers and wool handlers are central to the industry’s success, yet the numbers of workers has now declined to a critical level due to a lack of investment in skills training, or promotion of the industry as a career option.
Since AWI began this essential training program in 2012, nearly 4 000 people have participated in shearer or wool handling training and a further 800 attended other events.
These training opportunities provide practical and advanced skill-building for shearers, events such as crutching workshops, and vocational education.
This supports regional employment by encouraging workers to stay in the industry and consider shearing or wool handling as a viable career path for the future.
AWI also runs practical courses for school students to help attract them into the industry and make them job ready, with the aim of giving them a reason to stay and work in regional Australia.
Apart from training workers and recruiting others, the AWI investment has increased the productivity and profitability of Australian wool growing operations by increasing clip quality and efficiency, returning $2.60 on every dollar invested.