NEW South Wales stud Merino breeders have partnered with the BackTrack Youth Works group to help relieve pressure on the shearing industry.
Armidale-based BackTrack has been providing support and training to disadvantaged youth since 2006, with a focus on helping young people contribute to regional communities.
NSW Stud Merino Breeders’ Association Vice President Hamish McLaren said the program could be part of the solution to current shearing and shed staff shortages across the state.
The pilot program will be launched in New South Wale’s New England area with hopes to expand across the state.
“This approach is from a different angle, but we feel it’s a win-win for both our industry and the youth BackTrack supports,” Mr McLaren said.
“They might start as a roustabout then move up to being a crutcher or shearer, and they could be in the industry for life.
“We can show them that being in a shearing shed and involved in a shearing team is a fun experience that also offers good money to be made,” he said.
Mr McLaren said younger generations needed to be encouraged to enter the industry and this pilot program offered the chance for NSW SMBA members to play a vital part.
“It’s easy for members to be involved.
“All they need to do is make room on a table, stand or on the board,” he said
NSWSMB members wanting to be involved are invited to register expressions of interest with NSW Stud Merino Breeders’ Association on 02 9763 2744 or [email protected].