The Victorian government is rolling out shearer training, promised in the run up to the last state election.
Training and Skills Minister Gayle Tierney said the government was working to ensure Victoria's pool of highly-skilled shearers was keeping up with the growth in the state's wool industry and upholding its reputation for quality food and fibre.
"Students shouldn't have to move far away from home to get a great education - and we're proud to be supporting more shearing training to be spread over more locations across Victoria," Ms Tierney said.
The government's $1.2 million investment is supporting the shearing industry, South West TAFE, and two niche providers of shearing training, to increase the number of teachers to deliver training at more locations across Victoria.
Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes said the funding strengthened skills, passed down through the generations, and invested in a new generation of shearers.
The funding would also create an entry-level qualification to help retention rates at the Certificate II and Certificate III levels of Sheep Shearing and upgrade and improve existing learning resources.
The funding boost would help more people complete the formal training pathway through to the Certificate III in Shearing, a professional level qualification.
Training has been funded for 125 enrolments for three accredited shearing qualifications across eight regional locations.
The qualifications are Introductory Shearing, Certificate II in Shearing and Certificate III in Shearing.
Some training was put on hold due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, but is now fully underway using social distancing for the busy June to November period, when the peak of shearing activity occurs.
South West TAFE is also working with industry to provide resources and training for additional shearing teachers.
Training is recognised as a valuable way to enter the industry, rather than an informal approach.
It also builds the capacity of existing staff through improved work practices, such as shearing speed and quality and reduced injury levels and promotes shearing as an attractive and viable career.
Victoria exported $2.1 billion worth of wool in 2017/18, and the training program is expected to grow the industry further by creating new jobs and attracting more qualified shearers.
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