Australia’s top wool classers will be invited to a special Masterclass course in Melbourne in June this year to develop their skills.
AWEX chief executive officer Mark Grave said the Masterclass course enabled wool classers to undergo professional development and skills training in areas they had not previously been exposed to.
“The last time most woolclassers will have had some training was in 2000 with the Wool Development Course.
“That was 15 years ago and a lot has changed in the wool working environment – in 1999-2000 wool production was 620 million kilograms.”
Masterclass recognised need for skills development
Mr Grave said the course was first introduced after receiving feedback from wool classers and brokers of a need to recognise high-achieving wool classers and provide professional skills development.
“Masterclasser is a way to recognise those professional woolclassers who are considered leaders in their profession, well-respected for their skill, or classing a lot of wool or clips, quite often more than six months classing per year.
“Australia has 180 Masterclassers and together they class or prepare 11.9 percent of the nation’s First Hand Offered clip,” he said.
“This small group of wool classers are very influential in today’s wool industry.”
People skills critical for wool classers
Mr Grave said the significance and role of the wool classer has not changed over the years, but the environment and the issues they face today are vastly different compared to say 10, 20 or 30 years ago.
“Today’s woolclasser must be able to manage (diverse) people, so skills in this area are critical to their role.
“They are often called on for advice or contributing to a decision, so an intimate understanding of the industry and the expectations of buyers and processors is also fundamental,” he said.
“Learning and updating their knowledge and skills together in a professional environment is important to the wool industry as is developing their network of contacts throughout the industry.”
Masterclasser course develops staff skills
The Masterclasser course aimed to:
– To develop (staff) management/supervision skills and communication techniques,
– To bring wool classers closer to the point of sale to get a deeper understanding of the requirements and perspective of each customer of the wool classer (producer, warehouse, broker, buyer, and processor),
– To review case studies of wool preparation (with showfloor lots),
– To foster the use of strategic thinking and decision support tools,
– To examine the principles and benefits of quality assurance,
– To participate in documentation, WoolClip, and woolpack workshops,
– To build deeper levels of understanding behind the Woolclasser’s Code of Practice.
Course is limited to 15 classers
Mr Grave said more than half of each course is presented by industry or external presenters. Each course is limited to a maximum of 15 wool classers selected from the pool of industry nominees and/or wool classers identified by AWEX from its own performance reporting.
“A professional trainer takes the sessions on people management.
“Buyers, processors and the AWTA are all involved in the program.”
AWEX is seeking nominations for the course from selling agents, auction and private buyers, wool producers, shearing contractors, industry or training organisations.
The Masterclass will be held at the Southern Wool Selling Centre, (Frederick St. Tottenham), Melbourne, running from June 22 – June 25, 2015.
The nomination form can be downloaded from the AWEX web site www.awex.com.au
Nominations close on May 8, 2015. For more information contact AWEX on (02) 9428 6140 or email [email protected]
Masterclass for Wool Classers sounds a very grandiose scheme, in relation to the true position of the Wool Classers in the Australian wool industry.
On the Austraian Wool Exchange’s own figures, Australia’s 180 Masterclassers, the creme de la creme, class on average 1,322 bales of wool per year. About thirteen weeks work.
With the other 18,820 plus registered Wool Classers, on AWEX figures, classing on average 80 bales per year, about four days work. Who would want to be a Wool Classer in the future, with that outlook.