Wool Processing

AWI ambassadors get NZ wool handling and shearing tips

Sheep Central, February 16, 2024

TOP young shearer and wool handlers from across Australia are currently touring New Zealand undertaking a trans-Tasman trainee exchange course and competing in competitions.

The 15 members of Australian Wool Innovation’s Wool Ambassador’s Program are the first nationally co-ordinated group undertaking a working trip to the country under the initiative.

They have been working with NZ shearing contractors and the country’s Elite Wool Industry Training to learn New Zealand shearing and wool handling techniques, and competing in shows in the lead up to the Golden Shears in Masterton nfrom 29 February to 2 March.

Participants in the Australian-New Zealand training initiative have already enjoyed some success on the highly competitive NZ shearing sports circuit.

Trans-Tasman Training Course participants in New Zealand’s Maniototo region. Image – Elite Wool industry Training, X.

Australian wool handler Karl Schoff and shearer Ethan Harder will go over the week prior to the golden shears, with all Australians – 10 shearers and five wool handlers — to compete in the Golden Shears.

Australian Wool Innovation said the good work that Glenn Haynes and his team at SCAA Shearer and Wool Handling Training and with Tom Wilson and Gavin Rowlands at Elite Wool Industry Training has enabled this special opportunity for the young ambassadors, providing training, support and work leading up to the Golden shears.

SCAA SWTI executive officer Glenn Haynes said the ambassador program was started in South Australia in 2016 selecting participants on attitude, teamwork, work quality and willingness to learn. The program also involved Victoria-based businesses and with the establishment of the state-based Wool TAG committees it was expanded into other states.

The Memorandum of Understanding that AWI, SCAA and EWIT put together some 18 months ago has proven a valuable resource to expand the program’s activities and reach.

Mr Haynes said in the first two years of the program in South Australia, ambassadors were utilised to highlight to beginners the progress that was possible with training and hard work, creating a culture change among the young shearers and wool handlers.

Young shearers and wool handlers started to improve their work quality in shearing competitions and some have gone on to be part-time trainers in the industry.

“If you into the Sports Shear teams in South Australia and Victoria, all of the intermediates and seniors, and pretty much the open state teams, all came through the ambassador program,” Mr Haynes said.

“Now everyone from the other states has jumped on board.”

Mr Haynes said the initiative has also led to Australian shearers and wool handlers placing in New Zealand competitions, including at the Golden Shears.

“They (the ambassadors) are great role models.”


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  1. Shane Brazendale, February 16, 2024

    Great to see. It’s about time. The shearing industry needs all the support we can throw at it. It’s the best job in the world. I really miss it.

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