One of the issues facing New Zealand's wool industry is encouraging young people to enter the workforce as shearers or woolhandlers.

The Country's Jamie Mackay asked shearing legend Sir David Fagan if he thinks the industry is doing enough to attract and train young entrants to an ageing workforce and whether shearers and wool handlers are paid enough for their hard labour.

"I think as an industry we've lost our way a bit with our training agencies," says Fagan, who remembers New Zealand being the "envy of the world up until five or six years ago," when the New Zealand Wool Board and Tectra (shearing training programme) was disbanded.

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Fagan believes New Zealand needs a dedicated shearing school to attract young people back to the industry.


The shearing industry is looking at a 25 per cent pay increase for shearers, which may encourage people to join up. Mackay asks Fagan if farmers will be inclined to pay the increase.

"It does seem like a lot [of money] at the moment but it's not when you look at it on a worldwide basis," says Fagan, who points out that New Zealand is losing its shearing workforce to Australia.

"People chase the work and chase the money."