In the 2011/12 financial year, AWI has invested $1.1 million in education and training as well as promoting the industry as a rewarding career through shearing competitions and shows.
AWI Program Manager Shearing and Industry Development, Ian Evans, says the funding from AWI plays an important role in supporting training organisations.
"AWI works with around nine registered training organisations nationally to leverage upon the valuable government funding they receive.
"There is naturally a focus on in-shed training as we not only want to train the next generation but we need to work to retain as many shearers and woolhandling staff as we can. If we work with those who have already shown an interest then we are more likely to retain these vitally important people."
While the majority of AWI's investment in this area is in shearer and wool handler training, Mr Evans says AWI is also trying to further enhance the image of the shearing industry by supporting regional, state, national and international competitions as well as shearing demonstrations and vocational training in high schools.
"A good shearer can earn as much money as someone working in the mines, but a lot of people don't consider it as a career option. We are not only working to train the shearers and shedhands of the future but to present the entire industry as a great career option," Mr Evans says.
While AWI is doing its bit to train more shearers and wool handlers, Mr Evans says it takes the whole industry to ensure the new entrants are retained.
"If we want to retain these new professionals we need to make sure we support them with the right working conditions. The sheds that find it hard to attract shearers are often not attractive to work in. Professional shearers and woolhandlers deserve a professional workplace and accommodation, where it's needed."
To assist the promotion of shearer and woolhandler training, AWI is pleased to announce former head shearing trainer with TAFE NSW Western, Jim Murray, has recently joined the AWI shearing industry team. Mr Murray comes to AWI with a wealth of experience having trained hundreds of young shearers and woolhandlers and in recent years has promoted the industry to large crowds at Sydney's Royal Easter Show.
Australian Wool Innovation (AWI)
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