LIFE SKILLS: Shearing is not an easy thing to do because it requires hand eye coordination.
LIFE SKILLS: Shearing is not an easy thing to do because it requires hand eye coordination. Contributed

Police sheep shearing program develops skills for life

SOUTH West Blue Light Shearing Program aims to close the gap between rural youths and life skill programs that promote skills and attitudes for the future workplace.

Police liaison officer Laurie Bateman, based in Cunnamulla, has more than 26 years of experience and a Guinness World Record in the sheep shearing industry.

Mr Bateman started the program three years ago and it has now been streamlined into an eight-week course across two years.

The course teaches all aspects of wool handling, shearing, classing and pressing, and acknowledges participants with a Certificate II in Rural Operations upon completion.

"Shearing is not an easy thing to do because you've got to hold on to a 50kg sheep while operating a vibrating piece of machinery with speed and precision,” Mr Bateman said.

"In the future I'd like to see the program expand to other rural areas.

"Even if the kids don't end up working in the wool industry, we've shown them that if they apply themselves they can take on challenges, deal with their emotions, learn new skills and get ahead in their lives,” MrBateman said.