Fox & Lillie has been working with SCAA Shearer Woolhandler Training Inc, providing specialised training in the wool harvesting sector, to assist with combating the shortage of shearers in the industry.
Part of the support included a $3000 Fox & Lillie Rural training scholarship designed to support people who are seeking a long-term career in the areas of shearing and wool handling but who may be unable to access funding due to previous qualifications.
In June 2018, the scholarship was awarded to Blake Dridan who works at Central Shearing Ballarat. Mr Dridan recently completed his Certificate II in Shearing with the support of SCAA Shearer Woolhander Training Inc’s Ross Paton and Central Shearing Ballarat and can now shear up to 150 sheep per day.
Mr Dridan had always been interested in a shearing career ever since he rousabouted when he was young, but later decided to gain some experience in another field and pursued a career as an electrician. Several years on, he returned to Central Shearing Ballarat and shortly after, applied for the Fox & Lillie Rural training scholarship.
If it weren’t for the scholarship, he would have had to have paid several thousands of dollars for shearing training which may have prevented him from pursuing the industry at all.
The Fox & Lillie Rural training scholarship meant that Mr Dridan was able to pursue a career in wool and access one on one training with the SCAA Shearer Woolhandler Training Inc’s Ross Paton.
“We are pleased to be able to assist a great training organisation such as SCAA Shearer Woolhandler Training. Their training staff are highly committed to the industry and making shearing and wool handling more professional,” Fox & Lillie Rural’s Managing Director Jonathan Lillie said.
“We’re seeing first-hand the issues associated with the shortages of wool handlers and shearers in the industry and Fox & Lillie is committed in trying to improve this situation,” he said.
SCAA Shearer Woolhandler Training Inc. have a structured course that provides hands on training and includes a theory component to understand equipment use, nutrition, exercise, communication skills and money management.
Ross Paton said companies such as Fox & Lillie Rural who were able to facilitate scholarships, would encourage and support people to come up through the industry, especially those who had already earned a qualification in another industry.
Mr Paton, who has been in the wool industry since 1999, said there was a shortage of workers in the wool harvesting industry and the industry needed to become more attractive to people.
Fox & Lillie Rural’s Brokerage Manager, Eamon Timms, said Fox & Lillie viewed the future training of shearers and shed hands of being of vital importance for the ongoing professional standards of the industry.
“We’re proud to be associated with SCAA Shearer and Woolhandler Training Inc who continue to deliver such positive outcomes.”