Shearer and shedhand training investment has an almost three-fold economic benefit to Australian woolgrowers, a study has found.
A report by the BDA Group found that every dollar invested by Australian Wool Innovation in training shearers and wool handlers in 2012-13 generated a $2.60 return to woolgrowers.
It was estimated that the AWI investment generated benefits to Australian wool growers of $5.7m in present value terms in 2012-13.
The study also showed that training shearers and wool handlers benefited everyone in a shearing shed.
In the 2012/13 financial year, AWI helped train 2554 shearers and wool handlers (1571 shearers, 983 wool handlers) in-shed plus 786 participated in a range of events such as crutching workshops and vocational education in schools. Surveys of participating students and contractors suggest an overwhelming preference for in-shed training.
As the research, development and marketing body of the Australian wool industry, AWI has invested more than $7 million in shearer and shedhand training over the past five years, including $2.77 million in 2013/14.
Statistics recently been released for the most recent financial year, 2013/14, indicate that shearer and wool handler training numbers have increased even further, up by more than 30 percent on the 2012/13 year, with 3589 shearers and wool handlers (2269 shearers, 1320 wool handlers) trained in-shed, plus 781 participating in a range of related training.
AWI said training investment is regularly highlighted by woolgrowers as a crucial area of on-farm investment portfolio. In 2013/14 this investment has included support for 55 local shearing competitions, introductions to the industry for more than 700 students in WA, national consistency workshops, wool shed safety signage kits and grinding templates.
In WA, 739 school students in WA were provided with an introduction to the wool harvesting industry by AWI-funded coaches through in-shed or at school demonstrations of shearing and wool handling.
A detailed report into wool harvesting and quality preparation can be seen as part of AWI’s 2013/14 Annual Report.
Training delivers faster, quality shearing
Gains through training were measured by increasing shearing speeds without a loss of shearing quality. Central to these measurements were observations of the shearers themselves with daily shearer tallies increasing by 28 per day and 56 of 71 respondents also reported an increase in shearing quality, AWI said.
The economic analysis for the AWI investment in 2012/13, which was conducted by BDA Group and commissioned by AWI can be read in full at www.wool.com/Content/en-GB/BDA_SWH.pdf
AWI General Manager, Research, Dr Paul Swan, said the training of shearers and shedhands was a central role of the organisation.
“Harvesting wool is an iconic Australian activity and involves enormous skill and hard work.
“It is also the culmination of a woolgrowers’ annual activity and therefore requires the best possible skill and care,” Dr Swan said.
“Training the shearers and shedhands of today and tomorrow for this task is a central role for AWI.”
To participate in AWI’s shearer and woolhandler training freecall 1800 SHEARS.