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Beyond the Bale : March 2015
32 ON FARM One of the benefits of a career in shearing are the opportunities to travel and work overseas, but budding shearer Brad Kelly from Parkes in NSW is nowadays more than happy to spend his time in the shearing sheds at home in Australia. Brad is a former infantryman who spent more than seven years doing his bit for his country, with deployments in Iraq, Afghanistan and East Timor. He has been working as a wool handler since he left the army and recently attended a two-week course training for novice and intermediate shearers held at Paraway Pastoral’s new shearing shed at ‘Steam Plains’ station near Conargo in NSW. The training was funded by AWI as part of its shearer and wool handler training program that aims to encourage better shearing techniques and attract young people into the industry. “After the army, I got interested in the wool industry through my father in law who is a shearing contractor,” Brad said. “I’ve been working as a wool handler but have had my eye on taking up shearing. When I heard about the shearing school at Steam Plains I jumped at the chance.” The Steam Plains shed is a state of the art shed completed in 2010 that supports shearing 40,000 sheep every six months. It has many attractive features such as raised boards, a horseshoe layout, plenty of lighting and airflow and quality quarters. “The shed at Steam Plains was much bigger and more modern than I had been used to,” Brad said. “It was very impressive. When all the students walked in – who were from as far as Wellington as well as locals – everyone was in awe. “The trainers were excellent. They really spent a lot of the time doing one-on-one training with each of the students. They basically retaught us shearing from scratch, showing us better techniques that are more efficient and smoother. I had previously effectively taught myself how to shear but the techniques I was taught by the trainers were a much better way of shearing. “The accommodation and catering facilities were really good – which can make a big difference to enjoyment and motivation levels, especially if you’re staying there for a lengthy time like the two weeks that we were all there. “The shearing school was definitely worth doing. I’ve already recommended it to other people I know. Since finishing, I’ve continued with wool handling, but I’m also doing some crutching work and will hopefully be doing some shearing jobs soon. “I really enjoy the camaraderie amongst all the shearers. I love the industry, it’s the best. I’d rate shearing over the army any day.” Brian Sullivan from Deniliquin and Mike Pora from Cowra were the trainers on the course, who operate under the AWI Independent Coaching Program in NSW. “Brad was a very good student, he listened well and paid attention to detail,” Brian said. “Having been in the army he already has a good work ethic, and is a physical well-set sort of person that will be able to handle shearing. “I only allow people to join the course if I think they will stick with shearing as a career, otherwise it is waste of time and money. I reckon shearing can provide Brad with a rewarding career with good money and not too much time away from his family. Good luck to him.” The Station Manager at Steam Plains, Magnus Aitken, says Paraway is big supporter of the shearing industry and he was more than happy to provide the facilities for the training. “We have a terrific shed here at Steam Plains to help train young people,” Magnus said. “There is plenty of room and it is equipped with modern and best practice features, so it provides a good environment for a school. Woolgrowers and shearers are all in this industry together, so we are keen to help out.” MORE INFORMATION www.wool.com/shearertraining The school at Steam Plains is held twice each year. Phone 1800 SHEARS for information about this and other shearer training. don’tcompromiseyourharvestusethebesttoolsforthejobittakes12monthstogrowit The Ultimate Quality Shearing & Clipping Equipment • Combs • Cutters • Handpieces • Shearing Plants • Woolpress • Grinding • Clippers • Accessories • Clothing • Clipper Blades • Sheepmarker Australia Head Office 5A Tayet Link BIBRA LAKE WA 6163 P: +61 8 9434 0000 F: +61 8 9434 0011 email@example.com South Australia Office 5 Devon Street LONSDALE SA 5160 P: +61 8 8326 0890 F: +61 8 8326 0891 firstname.lastname@example.org www.heiniger.com.au Available at your local rural merchant The Ultim as des er AWI is committed to reducing the costs and improving the quality of harvested wool through shearer and wool-handler training initiatives. RETURNED SERVICEMAN HAS HIS AIM ON SHEARING Returned serviceman Brad Kelly from Parkes who spent more than seven years in the army recently undertook a two week shearer training course funded by AWI. Brad found the training very useful, and trainer Brian Sullivan reckons Brad has a bright future in the industry. Returned serviceman Brad Kelly receiving training from Brian Sullivan at Steam Plains near Conargo in NSW.