STUDENTS from across the region have been given practical experience in the shearing and wool-handling industry.
It is hoped some might go on to fulltime employment with the industry suffering from a skills shortage
About 25 kids spent three days at the Wool Works Shearing School which is part of the Regional Development Australia Northern Inland initiative.
Inverell's Macintyre High School and Holy Trinity Catholic School, as well as Warialda High School and Ashford Central School were all represented
"They were really engaged with the hands-on training in basic shearing and wool-handling skills," Regional Development Australia Northern Inland executive director Nathan Axelsson said.
"Every participant who might go on to further shearing training is a big win because looking to the future, the skills shortage in the wool industry is a concern.
"Our trainers have many years of experience in the wool industry, shearing, wool handling and training.
"They were able to convey a great deal in a matter of days, due to the practical approaches in our shearing schools."
The regional group said rural employers are crying out for skilled workers and teenagers are not always aware of the rewarding well-paying jobs and training options that are out there.
Martin Bower has been a Careers Advisor at Warialda High School for 28 years and a teacher there for 32.
He is passionate about the wool industry and the role skilled workers within it have played in Australia's economic development.
Mr. Bower was delighted with the Wool Works Shearing School and applauded the opportunity it represented for his students.
"Shearing is a really good trade for young people to get into. For those who don't click with school, this shearing school presented a really good example of what they can do. They don't have to go off to university, they can do something physically rewarding that can be good money and is a respectable field," he said.
"Wool Works gives kids an opportunity to see and experience a highly skilled job. Doing something rewarding like that can be transformational, especially for those who might not be academically orientated. Learning a skill and doing it well can give them pride in themselves."
The Wool Works short shearing school classes are set to continue.
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