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Beyond the Bale : September 2013
28 28 September 2010 BEYOND THE BALE 28 ON-FARM Each year AWI funds training for shearers and wool handlers across a range of skill development activities. In 2012/13, 1571 shearers and 983 wool handlers were trained directly through AWI-funded programs across Australia, with an additional 786 participants who attended crutching and other shearing and woolhandling workshops (see previous page). But as with all education, it is important to ensure that the trainers themselves are applying their skills effectively. Consequently, AWI runs training sessions for wool handler and shearer trainers across the country to standardise the way training takes place and to promote best practice across the wool industry. FAST FACTS l AWI runs workshops for the trainers of shearers and wool handlers to provide consistency in the way training takes place and to promote best practice across the wool industry. l Wool handler and shearer trainer workshops have been held across the country in the past few months bringing together the very best trainers from across the industry. l Workshops in Katanning, WA and Wagga Wagga, NSW were attended by more than 100 trainers. Shearer and wool handler trainers at the Wagga Wagga train-the-trainer workshop. September 2013 BEYOND THE BALE Workshops have been held in Katanning, WA and Wagga Wagga, NSW in the past few months bringing the very best trainers from across the industry together to share ideas about how to best train those who will be looking after the national clip for decades to come. Health, fitness, nutrition, recovery and injury prevention are crucial areas of training for shearer and wool handler trainers and AWI has brought in specialist physiotherapists to teach and advise how to best approach these areas. AWI Shearing Industry Development Co-ordinator Jim Murray said there are plenty of young people keen to enter the industry but providing consistency in this type of training across the country is vital to maintain and strengthen its professionalism. Jim likens shearer and woolhandler trainers to trainers of high performance athletes. “Shearers use as much energy in a day as a marathon runner and do so day-in and day- out,” Jim said. “A young person today could be in a shed at Esperance (WA) this week, Burra (SA) next month and then head to Tasmania or even overseas not long after that. While travel and income have always been great strengths of the industry, that same person may be getting different advice on fitness and injury prevention at each place so it’s important for us all to be on the same page to keep those young minds and bodies healthy and productive.” Another issue increasingly discussed by woolgrowers is the use of “cover- combs” or “snow combs” which leave more wool on the sheep. This can have significant welfare advantages when shearing in adverse weather conditions. Mr Murray said it was relatively new issues such as this one that were addressed during the recent train-the-trainer days. “There are some tremendous people training wool handlers and shearers across the country. Many are the best in their field and we are lucky they have such a strong commitment to handing on their expertise. Sharing knowledge has always been one of the great aspects of this part of the wool industry.” The national wool handler and shearer trainer workshops had over 100 trainers attend, and each of the trainers agreed that they would like to see the profile of people working in the industry lifted and highlighted. The skills of our top shearers is slowly becoming more recognised with statues of our two time world champion Shannon Warnest gracing a number of airports around Australia, and some great stories about the physical endurance of multiple world record holder Dwayne Black featured in international magazines. There is also some great work being done in this area at a number of the major agricultural events and shows around Australia by a lot of the coaches. “An area of concern and one which trainers feel deserves greater promotion is the highly skilled and professional nature of our wool handlers. These highly skilled people working either on their own or in a team have the ability to significantly increase woolgrowers’ profits when given the opportunity,” Jim added. Training for the trainers AWI’s Jim Murray (right) training in best practice shearing technique.