THE state's next crop of shearers will be given a chance to learn the ropes through a series of shearing schools in the state's west in the coming weeks.
Hosted by Australian Wool Innovation, the three week-long shearing schools at Barcaldine and Quilpie will be targeted at potential shearers of various skill levels.
The series of three schools will be bookended by workshops targeted at novice shearers starting at Barcaldine from June 27 to July 1 and again at Quilpie from July 4-8.
Inbetween will be an improver school, which is aimed at shearers that have attended the novice workshops, which will be held at Barcaldine from July 3-8.
AWI shearing trainer Trevor Bacon said the schools were part of a nation-wide effort to help combat the ongoing labour shortage facing the industry.
"Sheep numbers are continuing to grow in Queensland but the number of shearers and shed hands hasn't, so offering courses like these are the best way we can address that," Mr Bacon said.
"These particular schools will go to different stations each day to give the students a chase to experience what it's like in different sheds and work with different types of sheep."
Mr Bacon said the week-long schools had proved vital in encouraging more people to pick up a set of combs and enter the industry.
"The beauty of offering both the novice and the improver schools in the same area is that it allows us to create a base for people looking to get into the industry to firstly learn, but to then hopefully find employment in a shearing team," he said.
"We've had a lot of people come to the novice schools, who have then been connected with someone that will take them on as a shearer.
"From there, the skills they initially gathered at the novice skill are sharpened and the difference when they come back for the improver school is usually pretty significant."
The COVID-19 pandemic has put a strain on the country's wool industry due to problems in getting shearers travelling from overseas, particularly New Zealand, into the country due to travel restrictions.
However, Mr Bacon is hopeful schools like these, which are held across the country, may help in easing the reliance on overseas workers.
"There is a lot being done by the industry's peak bodies to help encourage people to get involved in shearing," he said.
"I know there are a lot of producers who are doing their bit as well by upgrading their facilities to help ensure a safe and appealing workspace for their shearers.
"I think that sort of thing from a producer's perspective needs to continue so that once people are in the door of the industry, they are enticed to stay by good pay and good working facilities."
To register for the schools, contact AWI via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 1800 SHEARS (1800 743 277).
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