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Fourteen participants from throughout the South Island attended a block course through the Southern Institute of Technology at its Telford campus, near Balclutha, this month, to study wool grading.
Sponsored by the Ministry for Primary Industries, the course represents 10 NZQA credits.
It was the first time a NZQA wool clip grading course had been run, tutor and course convener Bruce Abbott said.
Participants also had to complete the unit by distance learning and were required to hand in two assignments by November 11.
That included a shed inspection and a grading report on a clip they prepared.
The course looked at shed management, pressing, board and table preparation, documentation, health and safety, contamination and breed recognition, and students completed grading exercises.
On passing the course, they would be able to apply to the New Zealand Wool Classers Association for their grading registration (Q registration) which meant they were recognised by the wool industry as qualified to grade crossbred and mid micron hogget wool, Mr Abbott said.
The qualification also recognises senior woolhandlers’ skill and experience.
"To me, the official recognition for the job they do has been a long time coming.
"Woolhandling preparation can add value to the clip or take value off, depending on the workmanship, and that has needed to be recognised by the wool industry for a long time," he said.
Most participants were positive in their feedback, while a couple highlighted minor issues with delivery, which would be addressed.
"We will be reviewing the course but we are still finding our way."
The next course is expected to be held early next year, with some slight tweaks as part of the review.
"We run the programme in conjunction with shearing contractors and we will be going right through the country."
Representatives from PGG Wrightson, Tahi Ngatahi and New Zealand Merino contributed to the course.
The next step was to buy a trailer with funding from Ministry for Primary Industries so Mr Abbott and colleagues could take equipment and wool samples to woolsheds throughout the regions, making it easier for participants to access the training.