Addressing wool industry skill shortages

Published: May 10, 2021

Tagged with:

  • News and announcements
  • Hawke's Bay
  • Gisborne/Tairāwhiti
  • Southland/Murihiku
  • Otago

Today is the first ‘in-shed’ day for 60 shearers and wool handlers enrolled in an ambitious pilot programme, which aims to plug skill gaps by growing and upskilling New Zealand’s wool industry workforce.

Inside a large shed, a man is shearing a sheep while a group of people watch.

WOMOlife head trainer Justin Bell giving a demonstration.

This training comes at a time where the shearing industry is crying out for skilled workers due to shortages of workers from overseas.

A $1,864,000 skills and employment investment managed by the Provincial Development Unit (PDU) is helping the NZ Shearing Contractors Association (Kaiaka) contract WOMOlife to deliver the pilot programme in two areas covering the Hawkes Bay and Gisborne regions, and the Otago and Southland regions.

Chair of Kaiaka, Mark Barrowcliffe, says he is excited to see the new model rolling out.

“This brings together the best of online and in-shed training for the industry, with some amazing trainers chosen to teach and coach our next generation,” says Mr Barrowcliffe.

“It is also great to see a focus on health, wellbeing, nutrition and financial literacy of particiants, combined with the best movement practices and technical skills to promote success in the shed and in life.”

Demand for the programme has been strong with 60 participants enrolled in Gisborne and Hawkes Bay alone. Applications are still being processed for future courses, with PDU-managed funding available to support another 210 people, including current shearing workers and new entrants to the industry.

Skills and employment funding initiatives contribute to New Zealand’s regional economic development by growing the skills and experience needed to meet industry demands, ultimately supporting businesses to increase their productivity.