Shorn of the sheep

Students at St Mark's College have been spending the entire week learning how to shear a sheep and handle wool.

The Shearing Contractors Association of Australia (SCAA) Wool Handling Training Inc have hosted the course at the McNally Farm with the help of school farm manager Joel Head.

Wool lecturer, Des Jenner goes around to schools across the state and teaches students how to sought through wool to determine which parts to keep and what to throw away.

"We basically start with a shearing side of it with the long blow which is on the side of the sheep and just work out way right through the whole sheep," Mr Jenner said.

"Hopefully by the end of the week, they can shear a whole sheep, and with the wool side of it, we try and get them to do all the different aspects of handling the wool. Getting the stain out, identifying all the different parts of the fleece, wool pressing, branding up the bales.

"The students have been really good, they've all been interested in the course. A lot of them are from farms, so they might not necessarily go into the industry but they will be able to use these skills at home.

"There's a couple students here that live in town and probably haven't had as much exposure and this is their first experience with a sheep."

Year 11 student, Adam Black has been enjoying the course and has been learning valuable skills so he can help out on his family farm at Caltowie.

"The first day was mainly about setting up the hand piece and properly maintaining all the equipment and then learning how to use the long blows, and then on the second day we sheared their bellies and neck," he said

"I was a little bit nervous but I just did it with the other shearers and they helped me out and taught me how to do basic stuff.

"Most of the people just starting the course have now shorn their own sheep now. All you need is a few full days of it."

Students should have enough experience by the end of the course to be employable so they can start their own career in the sheep shearing business.

If there are other students that might be interested in learning, then Mr Jenner said the best way to learn is to come to one of these courses.

The sheep they used were generously donated by the Longmire family from Redhill and the Tyler family from Warnertown.