Locals ‘Flock’ To TAFE NSW Young Amid Wool Jobs Boom
IMAGE: Fiona Raleigh
Australia’s peak wool marketing body has welcomed strong demand for wool classing training at TAFE NSW Young as the industry confronts a growing skills gap.
TAFE NSW has seen a demand surge for Certificate IV in Wool Classing this semester, with record enrolments across a number of campuses in the Riverina.
Australian Wool Exchange (AWEX) registrar, Fiona Raleigh welcomed the renewed interest, saying there was growing pressure on wool harvesting staff numbers across the state.
“It’s great news that TAFE NSW is helping train the next generation of workers because there’s been a lot of pressure on the industry to find enough registered wool classers,” Ms Raleigh said.
“The fact there are more campuses offering wool classing and the courses are fee-free will make a big difference to the industry.”
Ms Raleigh said for the first time ever, more female wool classers were graduating from training organisations such as TAFE NSW than males.
TAFE NSW head teacher of agriculture, Rob Harris, who has been a wool classer for 43 years, said TAFE NSW Young was giving aspiring wool classers the practical skills and experience to make an immediate impact on the industry.
“A lot of shed staff have been lost over the past few years and so TAFE NSW has stepped up to support the industry,” Mr Harris said.
“We’re offering a course that is a lot more accessible to students’ lifestyles, with the theory component done online and two practical skills days a month at Deniliquin. The course can now be done in 12 months, rather than two years.”
He said graduates were able to gain a stencil and work in the industry immediately after completing the course.
Caraly Everett is one of dozens of students to take advantage of the fee-free course. After completing a Certificate III and Diploma of Agriculture at TAFE NSW, Ms Everett enrolled in Certificate IV in Wool Classing to broaden her skills and career prospects.
“The course has been so hands-on and the teachers have been really flexible in how they deliver it, which is great for those of us working full-time,” Ms Everett said.
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