FAQ’s

Looking for answers?

How much does a course cost?

The courses are fully funded under the Kaiaka contract and include access to online training, a 3-day residential course with in-shed training days, all accommodation and food, and a voucher for tools of the trade upon completion.  You do travel to the courses at your cost.

Who can apply for a fully-funded course?

For our upskill courses our criteria is simple: Wool handlers or shearers should ideally have no more than 2 years experience and work or reside in the pilot regions – Hawkes Bay/Gisborne and Otago/ Southland.

There are a number of ways to apply:

  1. NZSCA, Kaiaka and WOMOlife are asking shearing contractors to put forward people who work for them in wool handling and shearing who they think will benefit from the course.  For the upskilling programme, they will need to have some experience in the industry.
  2. We’re also accepting applications from individual shearers & wool handlers who want to progress to the next level.

What else is included in the courses for trainees?

For the upskill courses the fully funded programme will cover:

  • access to all the online training content, which is a professionally-shot series of short online videos featuring experts in their fields on the tasks required, including PDFs and quizzes and
  • the residential course which includes in-shed training days from industry trainers
  • All accommodation/food costs for residential course
  • Training in movement to reduce the risk of injury and increase performance plus
  • a voucher for tools of the trade upon completion of the course.

Travel costs are met by the trainee/shearing contractor.

What subjects are covered in the upskill training?

Subjects included in the upskill Shearing training are: wool identification, shearing gear, grinding, shearing position and control, the importance of footwork, blows – method

Subjects included in the upskill Wool Handling training are: gear, clip preparation, wool grading and classing, board duties, picking up, throwing and skirting the fleece, wool flow, penning and pressing

Who are your trainers?

Head trainer Carmen Smith brings over 25 years of knowledge and expertise to WOMOlife, and along with her partner Gavin, runs a 340 ha sheep and beef farm in Waipukurau. Having started her working life as a shepherd, Carmen moved into the wool sheds and has never looked back. She is a shearer, wool handler and presser, and has worked in sheds all over the world. She loves to compete and has trophies to show for it.
Justin Bell is a world record holder with over 28 years’ expertise in the shearing industry. He has competed in shows but enjoys endurance shearing more and knows what it takes to shear for hours on end, day in and day out, and is keen to pass on his knowledge and expertise to those starting out and younger shearers wanting to upskill. Justin, whose family farm is at Weber near Dannevirke, has set three world records and currently still holds the two-stand 8hr strong wool lamb record!
Dino Smith is an award winning speed shearer, who’s worked in Australia and all around New Zealand, and loves teaching the younger shearers and passing on his knowledge and skills.
Mouse O’Neill has spent a lot of time in Central Otago on the big high country stations as both a wool handler and as a shearer of more than 30 years.
Other trainers on board include Stacey Te Huia, Sarah Hewson, Leonora Smith and Sheree Alabaster, Luke Mullins, Craig Fagan, Clara Taingahue and assistant trainer Luke Paulsen.

If you are interested in becoming a trainer for WOMOlife, please get in touch.

Where will the training be held?

NZSCA, through Kaiaka, have requested that the pilot programme be initially held in Southland/Otago and Hawkes Bay/Gisborne. We’re concentrating on those areas at the moment and that’s where our current courses will be.  We are discussing options with a number of training centres in those regions so we can hold those courses there. We’re also looking at getting together a training network of centres throughout the country.

Do trainees need to provide their own gear and clothing for the courses?

For our upskilling courses in we’ll be taking on board shearers and wool handlers who have prior experience and who are expected to provide their own clothing and gear, ie their own handpieces that they bring with them to the course – just like a normal day in the shed.

For the new entrants courses, equipment will be provided. 

On completion of a course, trainees will receive a voucher for combs and cutters.

When are your courses?

Our first training courses will focus on existing industry participants. These will be upskill courses in wool handling and shearing. They are scheduled for the end of April/May/June depending on the availability of the training venue and sheep, of course!  Each course is going to be in a block of three nights/4 days for our upskilling courses. 

There are also plans underway for our new entrants courses in September/October 2021.   We’ll also be running courses for shed hands and penners and pressers who want to get into the shearing and wool handling industry; they’ll be complete beginners and new recruits into a life in wool career.

For our upskilling courses, we’re looking at 120 people coming through the programme.

In our new entrants, we’re looking at 150, so 270 in total for this pilot.

Why were Southland/Otago and Hawkes/Bay Gisborne chosen as pilot regions?

The NZSCA did some research on the areas which would most benefit from additional training and they found these pilot regions (Southland/Otago and Hawkes Bay/Gisborne) were where there were a lot of sheep but not enough shearers and wool handlers.  They identified these areas as the pilot regions because they need a lot more wool industry workers in those regions.

The NZSCA, through Kaiaka WITNZ, advised WOMOlife that these areas would be where the pilot programmes should be held.

Industry standards/TEC/NZQA – how is WOMOlife connected to industry standards?

Online content has been developed by industry people with over 25 years’ experience in the wool industry working in wool sheds.

Measurable training outcomes are being written based on NZQA learning outcomes and unit standards.

Do you have a partnership with Tahi Ngātahi?

Yes, through NZSCA –  Tahi Ngātahi health and safety videos are a mandatory part of the WOMOlife courses.

How can I apply?

The applications are an online process through this site.

Click on Contractors on the home page if you are a shearing contractor but if you’re applying yourself, talk with your contractor and ask to be put forward. Not with a contractor, then email us directly.

How does the application process work if your name has been put forward by a Contractor?

  1. Once we have received names from a shearing contractor we’ll call to discuss the possible trainee to find out more about their skills and abilities.
  2. Selected course trainees will then be confirmed and contacted.
  3. Each of the selected applicants will then need to complete a short online course – four videos, pdfs and quizzes.
  4. Once they have successfully completed this short course, the trainee will enrol in the online upskill course and receive all the information about the residential course.

After April, will there be other upskill courses?

If there is enough demand, we would look to run more upskilling. For the moment we are focussed on delivering on the Kaiaka contract, recruiting and training 270 people into the industry in the next 18 months. That includes 120 upskilling and 150 new entrants for training.  Any other training will be looked at at a later date.

What other courses are there?

In September/October 2021, we’ll be running courses to become a shearer or wool handler for those who are completely new to the industry or for shed hands and pressers who are keen to upskill.

We’ll also offer a course for those completely new to the industry who are keen to become a shed hand, learning penning and pressing. If you’d like to know more Register your interest and one of the Womolife team will be in touch.

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