A group of fledgling shearers will learn the finer points of the profession as part of a unique Shearing School at TAFE NSW Primary Industries Centre in Wagga this week.
It comes amid an industry-wide skills shortage with less than 2500 shearers operating nationwide, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, a figure that has fallen 13 per cent in five years.
Former world champion shearer Bill Kimber is leading the course, a passion he is happy to share with eager students.
"In 1968 I started shearing and have been doing the shearing schools here at TAFE for nearly 30 years," he said.
"Some [students] know what they are on about and some get quite a shock, as it is a bit harder than what they think.
"When you first start off it is very difficult, and your body is not used to it, it takes a while to get fit at it and to learn a good pattern of shearing."
Mr Kimber being a great shearer comes down more to technique and strength. He said just because someone is a small build, does not mean they cannot shear.
The two-week course will give participants a primer in everything from shearing techniques to wool pressing, and they will earn a Statement of Attainment in Introduction to Wool Harvesting upon completion of the course.
One participant, Jaymee Suitor, grew up on a farm in Cooma and hoped to make use of the new skills on his uncle's farm.
"I have been learning it my whole life on the farm, catching lambs and the whole production," he said.
"We are getting taught a formula, and we stick to it.
"We just get in there and have a go, with practice comes perfection."
TAFE NSW Head Teacher of Agriculture Rob Harris said the course is designed for people who have spent time in shearing sheds and want to develop their skills to become a qualified shearer.
"There's great earning potential for a career shearer, but it's about more than just shearing these days," he said.
" It's also about health, welfare, a good diet and physical fitness."