Funds needed for shearing crisis

28 Apr, 2004 10:00 PM
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WAFARMERS Wool Council has renewed demands for funds from the State Government to train young people for the struggling shearing industry.

Speaking at last week's wool council meeting, WAFarmers representative Lex Martin said there were more than 250 young shearing trainees in WA at present.

The council's stance followed an approved training package from July last year that had yet to be implemented by the State Government, Mr Martin said.

"We've got people out there at the moment waiting to participate," Mr Martin said.

Mr Martin said the council needed to support a more realistic TAFE accredited shearing qualification certificate.

Many council members believed the current 120 head-a-day requirement for the certificate was unmanageable for young people starting out in the industry.

The general consensus was prior learning in the industry needed to be recognised in any qualifications and skills-based courses.

Mr Martin said the demand needed to come directly from growers and had to be supported by government incentives.

He said there were considerable incentives paid by the State Government to host employers who take on trainees.

The government would pay employers around $5000 to host a trainee.

There is also an extra $1100 if the trainee is female, which includes shedhanding skills.

WAFarmers member Neil Bilney said the organisation would always facilitate the needs for agriculture, particularly in the shearing industry.

WAFarmers wool section president Max Watts said he had been in extensive talks with Narrogin Agricultural College principal Andrew Castle and some innovative ideas were raised.

Mr Watts said the wool council would be seriously considering those ideas in the near future.

Council members also showed strong support for more facilities and shearing training schools to be established in WA.

However, there was some concern about Australian Wool Innovation's failed attempts at shearing schools in the eastern states.

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