Sharpening shearing skills at Elite course

Shearer Mike Murphy, of Waimate, takes a break from an Elite Wool Industry Training course at...
Shearer Mike Murphy, of Waimate, takes a break from an Elite Wool Industry Training course at Eldorado, Bucklands Crossing last week. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE
South Canterbury shearer Mike Murphy is "ready to go" after learning new skills.

Mr Murphy took a few days off work from Waimate Shearing to do an Elite Wool Industry Training course at Eldorado, inland from Waikouaiti, last week.

The three days at "shearing school" was improving his technique.

He had been shearing for 15 years and ran a team harvesting merino wool in Western Australia before the pandemic brought him home.

The course allowed him to "brush up" on the skills required to shear crossbred sheep.

"To do it a bit easier, get a few more numbers and make life easier."

Shearing a crossbred sheep was "more physical" than shearing a merino, he said.

"That’s where the technique comes in."

The course had "refreshed me mentally after going pretty hard all year".

"Doing something like this gives you a real boost mentally — you’ve got new skills to try out."

The new skills included better footwork, better balance and better positioning of the sheep, which all removes some physical strain on his body.

"Ultimately I’m going to be able to shear more sheep in a day because I’m not as tired and I’ll enjoy it a lot more."

Learning new skills on the job was difficult because the focus was on making money and finishing the job, rather than improving your technique.

"Here I can relax and it doesn’t matter how long it takes me to get the belly off — I make sure I’ve got it right and I’ve got the time to take a look at it."

The course cost him — in fees and missed income — but it was worth it, he said.

"It’s going to be so beneficial — it already is — I’m ready to go, I want to get back to work."

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