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Northern Ireland Shearing training courses provide lifetime skills
Apr '10
Sheep shearing will be in the spotlight this summer as the UK hosts the World Shearing Championships, but Northern Ireland sheep farmer Brendan Kelly Chairman of the British Isle Shearing Competition Association (BISCA) is hoping that this season's sheep shearing training courses will beat the record number of 170 trainees that the courses attracted last year.

Brendan Kelly, who runs 750 ewes near Ballymena, says last year saw great support for the training programmes run throughout Northern Ireland during May and June by Greenmount College in conjunction with the British Wool Marketing Board's instructors.

"The courses provide skills training for everyone from complete novices to experienced shearers" in fact many people have notched up attendances at over 20 courses over the years. Sheep shearing is something you never stop getting better at if you are prepared to keep learning, says Brendan.

He's sheared sheep competitively at top level and represented Northern Ireland in the five nations shearing competitions. He hopes this summer's World Shearing championships - to be held at Builth Wells, mid Wales - (19 July to 22 July) - will inspire even more people to master the skills of shearing.

"You might feel that you know enough about shearing sheep but everyone who attends a sheep shearing course admits how much they've improved. And it's not just a case of achieving a high rate of shearing. Animal welfare is increasingly becoming an issue and with the value of sheep having increased considerably it's important to ensure every animal is sheared to the highest standard," says Brendan.

British Wool Marketing Board

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