Twin sisters Ashlin and Shawna Swann are boosting their skills on a handpiece thanks to on-farm training and online videos through Agricademy’s WOMOlife courses. They’re also earning good money while they learn.
At 14, the Wairoa College teens are already competent shearers, encouraged by their family, and they’re keen to upskill further. They mostly work in the school holidays, and lambing season is when the work really kicks in. They shear their own pet lambs, as well as helping their dad with his lambs, and earn extra money crutching too.
The sisters recently attended a three-day in-shed WOMOlife training course at Tautane Station, Herbertville, where they learnt new skills to add to their toolkit, and how to use a grinder – vital for any budding young shearer.
The training covered all aspects of working in a shed, including pressing, grinding and sweeping. They are using the online video content to learn more, including the different positions used in shearing, and the importance of exercise and healthy eating.
Mum Sonya was keen for them to attend the course, after hearing about it from another student. “Shearing is our background. We’re farmers and we all shear. It’s a good after-school, holiday or weekend money maker. The feedback I got from Tautane was awesome. They learnt new skills to add to what they have already, it was definitely a bonus.”