A group of Aboriginal students from the Goodooga area are benefiting from training from expert shearing and wool handling coaches from across TAFE NSW - Western Institute, giving them the opportunity to gain employment in the wool industry.
According to TAFE NSW - Western Institute Director Adrian Mitchell, the group of students from Goodooga will be a welcome boost to the industry in western NSW, with current skill shortages in the industry.
"This program has enabled TAFE to continue expanding its engagement with the Aboriginal community at Goodooga, while addressing current skill shortages in the wool industry, "said Mr Mitchell.
"On successful completion of this course, students will graduate with a nationally recognised Certificate II in Shearing. A number of the group have now almost completed the required training to achieve this," he said.
Ian Chapman, Western Institute, Wellington Campus, who has been coordinating the shearing and wool handling coaching at Goodoooga, said, "The first two weeks of training was held at Mogilla Station at Goodooga during April when 12 Aboriginal students were coached in sheep shearing techniques."
"The majority of the group were between 18 - 29 years old and had no previous experience in the industry. Two older men in the group have previously worked as shearers but were keen to get some expert coaching from the TAFE team. It is also hoped these older and more experienced shearers will act as mentors for the younger men as they progress into the industry."
"In June five from the group followed up their initial training with a further two week shearing school held a the TAFE NSW - Western Institute Rural Skill Centre in Dubbo.
"There has also been another school held for the group at Goodooga in July with a focus on sheep husbandry and wool handling, this was sponsored by NSW Merino Breeder's Association," Mr Chapman said.
The coaching and training has been conducted by very experienced and award winning shearers and wool handlers, including Danny Flick (Orange), Dwayne Black (World Shearing Record holder), Noel Canty (Bourke based Shearing Contactor), Peter O'hara, Ian Elkins(four-time winner of the Open Australian Shearing title, and six-time winner of the Australian Shearer of the Year), Leo Fittler and Eileen Philipson (Australian national wool handling champion three years in a row and Australian representative wool handler for six years) who make up a vital part of TAFE NSW - Western Institute's much acclaimed shearing and wool handling coaching team.
The program has been funded by the Joint Indigenous Funding Pool which is a special strategy funded jointly by the Commonwealth and NSW Governments, The Joint Indigenous Funding Pool strategically targets funding to maximise education and training opportunities and improve vocational education and training outcomes for Aboriginals.