THE future of shearing in Tasmania is looking brighter, thanks to the efforts of first-year trainer Jack Monks and courses offered by Primary Employers Tasmania.
Quite a high percentage of the state's 140 shearers are over 50 and Mr Monks said about 15 per cent of those needed to be replaced in the next few years.
``The courses offered through Primary Employers Tasmania are giving potential shearers a chance to learn the trade,'' he said.
Mr Monks last month completed the second of two shearing and wool-handling courses in Northern Tasmania.
``There was a 10-day course at Beaufront, Ross, which followed a five-day course at Connorville, near Cressy, and nearly 25 would-be shearers went through the two courses,'' he said.
``Once they learn the trade, shearers can travel all over Australia and the world and quite a few of this latest course showed real promise, but there's a pretty high drop-out rate and probably five out of 20 would continue.
``A shearer only has to shear 74 sheep a day to earn the same money as a shed hand and most of them vp+1would reach that level after three or four months of vp+2consistent work.''
Mr Monks said he had seen a fair number of half-shorn sheep running up the boards in his time as a trainer.
``They can get away from vp+1you if you're not careful,'' he said.
Rick Horne, of Ouse, said that his mother was a wool classer and he used to work in the shed with her.
``I thought I'd give the shearing a go to see what it was like and I'm enjoying it,'' he said.
Myles Stacey, of Launceston, has been shearing for six months, manages between 70 and 80 a day and participated in the Ross course to improve his technique.
``I hope to be doing my 100 [sheep a day] soon,'' he said.