Wool is a versatile resource, valued for its natural, durable, flexible, fire-resistant and biodegradable properties. Shearers, wool handlers and wool classers are experts in skilfully removing wool fleece and ensuring it is classed by its quality and fibre characteristics. The skills and collaboration of these roles ensure the production of high-quality wool that meets industry standards and maintains Australia’s reputation as a high-quality producer of wool.  

Click across the tabs to view active and completed project stages. Consultation takes place at every stage of the project.

It is important that the national qualifications that support shearers, handlers, and classers reflect current skill needs. The proper shearing, handling, sorting, and classification of wool contributes to its value and suitability for various products. Shearers, wool handlers, and classers require unique skills, such as the ability to work quickly and consistently while maintaining the quality of the wool. They must also remain current with animal behaviour and handling techniques and maintaining safe work practices.  

Ongoing research continues to drive innovations for new uses and products out of the wool industry. Advancements in technology have brought about innovations in shearing handpieces, mechanical systems, infrastructure improvements and digitisation, particularly in the area of supply chain traceability These new technologies are also broadening the range of skills required by shearers, wool handlers and wool classers.  

The future workplace must align with sector demands around compliance and technological processes and respond to the growing need for more information about the origin of products. 

The shearing and wool project is being undertaken as part of a broader project to review the entirety of the AHC Agriculture, Horticulture and Conservation and Land Management Training Package. 

Project Scope and Purpose

This project will review six qualifications and 34 units of competency that support the skills of Shearers, Wool Handlers and Wool Classers so that they reflect current work methods and skill needs. The review will focus on technological advances, work health and safety, animal behaviour and handling techniques within the sector. 

This project will also address any duplication issues across units, by deleting or merging unused or non-current units that are not relevant to industry.  

Qualifications and units of competency to be reviewed

Below is a list of the qualifications and units of competency that will be reviewed. We welcome any initial feedback you have which will help us in the review and development process, in particular, any feedback you have about: 

  • Units that have no enrolment data or low enrolments, as shown in the unit of competency table below, from RTOs or any other users 
  • Qualifications that are impacted by this project, as shown in the unit of competency table below: 
  • AHC10222 Certificate I in Agriculture 
  • AHC20122 Certificate II in Agriculture 
  • AHC30122 Certificate III in Agriculture 
  • AHC32822 Certificate III in Rural Operations 
  • AHC40122 Certificate IV in Agriculture 
  • AHC41019 Certificate IV in Agribusiness   
  • AHC50122 Diploma of Agriculture

Please note that some core units within the qualifications have been superseded by newer versions. These are outlined in the notes column.  This project will work with stakeholders to determine which units are best placed in the core.  

Timeline

Project Team

Andrew headshot

Andrew Horgan

Project Stakeholder Engagement Manager, Skills Insight
[email protected]

Penny headshot

Penny McQueen

Project Manager, Skills Insight
[email protected]


Anna Henderson

Industry Skills Standards Contractor

CodeTitleNotes (core units within this qualification are superseded)
AHC21316 Certificate II in Shearing AHCWHS201 is superseded by AHCWHS202 
AHCWRK204 is superseded by AHCWRK212 
AHCWRK209 is superseded by AHCWRK211 
AHC21416 Certificate II in Wool Handling AHCWHS201 is superseded by AHCWHS202 
AHCWRK202 is superseded by AHCWRK211 
AHCWRK204 is superseded by AHCWRK212 
AHC32916 Certificate III in Shearing AHCWHS301 is superseded by AHCWHS302 
AHCWRK305 is superseded by AHCWRK317 
AHC33016 Certificate III in Wool Clip Preparation AHCWRK306 is superseded by AHCWRK318 
AHC33116 Certificate III in Advanced Wool Handling AHCWHS301 is superseded by AHCWHS302 
AHCWRK306 is superseded by AHCWRK318 
AHC41316 Certificate IV in Wool Classing AHCWRK401 is superseded by AHCWRK404 
AHCWHS401 is superseded by AHCWHS402 
CodeTitleNotes
AHCSHG201 Crutch sheep 
AHCSHG202 Assist in preparing for shearing and crutching 
AHCSHG203 Shear sheep to novice level 
AHCSHG204 Shear sheep to improver level 
AHCSHG205 Grind combs and cutters for machine shearing 
AHCSHG206 Prepare handpiece and downtube for machine shearing 
AHCSHG210 Undertake basic shearing and crutching 
AHCSHG301 Prepare livestock for shearing This unit is also an elective in AHC30122 Certificate III in Agriculture.  
AHCSHG302 Prepare combs and cutters for machine shearing In addition to the qualifications under review (above), this unit is also an elective in AHC30122 Certificate III in Agriculture
AHCSHG303 Maintain and service shearing handpieces 
AHCSHG304 Shear sheep to professional level 
AHCSHG305 Maintain consistent shearing performance 
AHCSHG306 Carry out post-shearing procedures Data shows that this unit has low enrolments. Please contact us if you have feedback about the content or delivery of this unit. 
 
This unit is also an elective in AHC30122 Certificate III in Agriculture
AHCSHG402 Conduct equipment experting for machine shearing No enrolment data is available for this unit. Please contact us if you have feedback about the content or delivery of this unit. 
 
This unit is also an elective in AHC40122 Certificate IV in Agriculture. 
AHCSHG405 Arrange employment for shearing operations No enrolment data is available for this unit. Please contact us if you have feedback about the content or delivery of this unit. 
 
This unit is also an elective in AHC40122 Certificate IV in Agriculture. 
This unit is also an elective in AHC50122 Diploma of Agriculture 
AHCSHG407 Prepare shearing team wages No enrolment data is available for this unit. Please contact us if you have feedback about the content or delivery of this unit. 
 
This unit is also an elective in AHC40122 Certificate IV in Agriculture. 
This unit is also an elective in AHC41019 Certificate IV in Agribusiness  
AHCWOL101 Support woolshed activities Data shows that this unit has low enrolments. Please contact us if you have feedback about the content or delivery of this unit. 
 
This unit is also an elective in AHC10222 Certificate I in Agriculture 
AHCWOL201 Pen sheep In addition to the qualifications under review (above), this unit is also an elective in AHC20122 Certificate II in Agriculture
AHCWOL202 Perform board duties In addition to the qualifications under review (above), this unit is also an elective in AHC20122 Certificate II in Agriculture
AHCWOL203 Carry out wool pressing In addition to the qualifications under review (above), this unit is also an elective in AHC20122 Certificate II in Agriculture
AHCWOL301 Appraise wool using industry descriptions 
AHCWOL303 Prepare wool based on its characteristics 
AHCWOL304 Prepare fleece wool for classing In addition to the qualifications under review (above), this unit is also an elective in AHC30122 Certificate III in Agriculture 
AHCWOL305 Prepare skirtings and oddments 
AHCWOL306 Supervise clip preparation 
AHCWOL307 Document a wool clip 
AHCWOL308 Prepare facilities for shearing and crutching In addition to the qualifications under review (above), this unit is also an elective in AHC30122 Certificate III in Agriculture 
This unit is also an elective in AHC32822 Certificate III in Rural Operations 
AHCWOL310 Press wool for a clip In addition to the qualifications under review (above), this unit is also an elective in AHC30122 Certificate III in Agriculture
AHCWOL311 Perform shed duties In addition to the qualifications under review (above), this unit is also an elective in AHC30122 Certificate III in Agriculture
AHCWOL401 Determine wool classing strategies In addition to the qualifications under review (above), this unit is also an elective in AHC40122 Certificate IV in Agriculture.
AHCWOL402 Use individual fleece measurements to prepare wool for sale Data shows that this unit has low enrolments. Please contact us if you have feedback about the content or delivery of this unit. 
 
This unit is also an elective in AHC40122 Certificate IV in Agriculture. 
AHCWOL403 Plan, implement and review wool harvesting and clip preparation In addition to the qualifications under review (above), this unit is also an elective in AHC40122 Certificate IV in Agriculture.
AHCWOL404 Establish work routines and manage wool harvesting and preparation staff In addition to the qualifications under review (above), this unit is also an elective in AHC40122 Certificate IV in Agriculture.
AHCWOL405Class fleece wool 

Opportunities for stakeholder input

A list of key stakeholder organisations has been created for this project, which Skills Insight will contact to seek involvement and views on the draft qualifications, skill sets and units. However, consultation is not limited to the organisations on this list. This list simply helps us to identify those organisations that, because of their industry role, size or specialty, are likely to have a key interest in the development and outcomes of this project. You can view the list in the Consultation Strategy. If you are aware of an organisation that you think should be involved, please contact the project team.  

For updates and consultation opportunities, please subscribe to news and updates.

Alternatively, please feel free to contact the project manager, Penny McQueen on 03 9321 3526 or [email protected] 

This project is part of the Annual Training Product Development Plan 2023-24.

National qualifications are being reviewed to align with the evolving skill needs of shearers, wool handlers, and wool classers to support the quality and maximise the value of wool and fibre for various products. It is important that current and emerging technology and compliance requirements are reflected in the national qualifications for this work, as well as the essential skills related to animal behaviour and handling and maintaining safe work practices. 

The project Technical Committee is reviewing the qualifications and providing advice on the structure and requirements. While six qualifications and 34 units have been identified for review in this project, the Technical Committee has identified opportunities to develop a new wool harvesting skill set to support introduction to the shearing and wool sector. They have also identified the need to incorporate the skills associated for working with traceability and integrity schemes and to strengthen health and wellbeing in existing units of competency. 

Development Outcomes and Next Steps

The draft qualifications, skill sets and units will be made available on this webpage for broad stakeholder consultation and feedback in May 2024. 

Your input is welcome, please feel free to register your interest to keep informed of project updates and when draft materials are available for feedback. 

Components identified for possible deletion 

The Technical Committee is particularly interested in hearing feedback on a qualification and units identified for possible deletion, as they may no longer align with the current skill requirements of industry. Feedback on existing or potential use of the qualification and units is welcome. 

If you would like to comment, please contact: 

Penny headshot

Penny McQueen

Project Manager, Skills Insight 
[email protected]

Register for a Consultation Workshop

In-person Sessions

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Consultation so far 

Insights from the shearing shed  

As part of our consultation activities, the project team visited a sheep farm in Ballan, Victoria, where they had the privilege to observe shearers, handlers, and wool classers seamlessly coordinating their tasks, from the shearing board to the wool table and finally to the wool press.

The team got to meet with industry stakeholders and experts to help inform what skills need to be incorporated in the revision of qualifications and units of competency. They also got to experience how unique a shearing shed operation is and were able to learn and answer some critical questions relating to the project.

“The good vibes of the music, the buzz of shearing machines, and the well-coordinated activities of the crew in the shed, along with the calmness of the sheep under the shearer’s expertise, have left a lasting impression.

We are incredibly grateful to Technical Committee member Glenn Haynes for organising the visit, the warm welcome from the farmer and the expertise shared from workers and guests.”

Penny McQueen, Project Manager

This stage has not yet commenced.

At the broad consultation stage, we present and discuss potential solutions, collecting feedback from a wide range of stakeholder across the country. It follows consultation with various stakeholders that has already taken place throughout the project.

This stage has not yet commenced.

At the validation stage, we check our work with stakeholders to confirm that solutions are in line with expectations.

This stage has not yet commenced.

At the finalisation stage, final checks are conducted and the outcomes of the project are submitted to the Department for consideration. Following this, outcomes are published or enacted.

Project background

As the agriculture, horticulture, conservation and land management industry adapts to technological advancements, shifting markets, and environmental concerns, it is important that the AHC training package can be updated holistically and on a regular basis.  

Given the many unique and interrelated skills across the industry, a strategic approach is being undertaken to identify and review units by their sector classification rather than their listing in qualifications.  

This project supports the broader Unit Sector approach, looking at qualifications and skill sets that contain recently reviewed units and replacing them with the latest version as applicable. 

Following a staged process, the Unit Sector approach allows us to: 

  • review the entire training package within a limited number of years 
  • reduce the impact on RTOs and their requirements to update training delivery materials 
  • make better use of expert’s time when volunteering their expertise 
  • make it easier to identify duplication of content and missing skills and improve the ability of units to describe job functions that are required across multiple qualifications 
  • provide further opportunities to identify units that are misaligned with their defined AQF level, improving the quality of AHC units specifically and the training package generally 

2024 Projects as part of the Unit Sector Approach 

There are two projects taking place in 2024, as part of this work. Each will be undertaken separately but run concurrently, allowing for a more targeted consultation while ensuring that the projects can simultaneously review and address any overlaps between them.  

The Livestock Operations Project will also update LSK units that are core in the Shearing and Wool qualifications. 

A project to analyse the how the AHC21216 Certificate II in Rural Operations is being used is also underway concurrently with these projects.