In the the agricultural sector, the seasonal worker shortage is having a huge impact on producers around the nation, especially in the horticulture industry.
Locally, farmers and shearing contractors are impacted by shortage of shearers and shed staff.
With shearer numbers declining by more than 30 per cent in the past decade, wool industry representative bodies have been holding meetings with unions and shearing contractor organisations to develop new policies to confront the issue.
NSW Farmers is also looking at ways it can promote the wool industry and shearing as a solid career option to young people, in order to attract more shearers.
NSW Farmers is currently investigating the possibility of establishing a NSW Wool Technical Advisory Group (TAG) in conjunction with other industry groups, including Australian Wool Innovation (AWI).
AWI works with industry and 72 accredited AWI trainers and registered training organisations to deliver training nationally through workshops and in-shed training for novice, entry level or improver shearers and wool handlers.
In addition to running its own courses across NSW in locations including Yass, Brewarrina and Warren, AWI is also working with TAFE NSW to help best deliver a range of courses being offered through the Dubbo and Armidale campuses.
Shearing was included on the NSW Government's Smart and Skilled funding package and the five-day introductory TAFE course in shearing is free to anyone, of any age, who may like to give shearing a try.
Having shearing recognised as a formal trade is also something that NSW Farmers is pushing for, even if this means taking a flexible approach to the traditional apprenticeship model so that it can better suit shearing.
For more information on AWI's shearing and wool handling courses and schools, contact Craig French on 1800 SHEARS or go to www.wool.com/training-resources.
NSW Farmers Goulburn Branch is again sponsoring the Young Farmer Challenge at this year's Goulburn Show on Saturday, March 6 at 2pm.
Get a team together or at least come and support the entrants in this farm skills event.
Local farmers are urged to support the show by entering livestock or produce, and if you have some time please consider helping as a steward or other volunteer.
A sheep section will be included this year for the first time in some years.
The show schedule is available online.
For more information about NSW Farmers, visit www.nswfarmers.org.au or contact Regional Services Manager Dave Banham on 0428411221.