Additional funding for training, and more formal certification to show training standards have been met, are needed in the wool industry, says shearing contractor Dion Morrell, of Alexandra.

He and champion shearer Tom Wilson have established Elite Shearer Training, which holds regular courses in shearing sheds throughout the region for people wishing to learn or upskill for the wool harvesting industry, and to meet the increasing demand for more trained people in the sector.

They are seeing more young women moving on to the board as shearers, rather than remaining in the more traditional woolhandling role, and are keen to push that.

Training course is shear happiness for young women


A course was held at a Gimmerburn woolshed last week and four of those attending were young men from Maniototo High School and there were also four young women there and keen to learn.

Morrell, whose daughter, Pagan Karauria of Alexandra, is a master woolhandler as well as a shearer, recently spoke to a group of Dunstan High School pupils to promote the wool industry as a career and some girls were interested in shearing.

''A teacher said 'girls just do woolhandling','' he said.

''One of the girls said that [comment] was 'so last century'.''

Morrell said following the demise of other training organisations such as Tectra and Te Ako Wools, it was important for the industry that additional funding for training and training providers be forthcoming.

''It is something we really want to push.''

He said in addition, in any other industry that handled animals, there was formal certification to say those involved had sufficient qualifications to do so, so they could be held to account.

''In shearing we don't need one.''


He wanted to see a requirement enforced to say those involved needed to pass a test, or gain certification as proof of their ability to carry out the work as well as meet health and safety requirements.

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Those who completed the various courses Elite offered, were awarded in-house, industry-recognised certificates to show they had achieved certain standards.

Shearing trainer Chas Tohiariki said last week's course was ''awesome.''

''We get a lot of women coming through who are already in the industry and in April we held a shearing course for school pupils, which was open to the public, and several young girls attended that.''

He also works with Grant Moore, of GA Moore Shearing, of Winton

''In their crew, they have four female shearers and they shear an average of 280 sheep a day.

''The average shearer would do about 260 to 290 a day up to 330, on average and those girls are doing 280.''

''Some of those sheep weigh 85kg, and some of those girls are 55kg to 75kg.''

He said if there were sufficient funding for training, there would be additional opportunities and more people entering the industry.