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Wool classer

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Summary of occupation

Wool classers are in charge of grouping fleece into categories including length and thickness, quality, colour, strength and cleanliness.

Wool classers may also work as wool valuers. The job of the wool valuer is to assess or estimate the value of products so these may be sold.

Wool classers are in demand during the shearing season, but must be willing to follow work during the quieter periods.

ANZSCO description: Classifies wool to industry standards or market  requirements.
Alternative names: Wool Grader
Specialisations: Hide Classer, Shearing Overseer, Wool Valuer
Job prospects: Limited
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

Wool Classers need to be:

  • physically fit
  • good with their hands
  • have normal eyesight (may be corrected)
  • possess good communication skills
  • willing to travel
  • able to work as part of a team

Generally Wool Classers can:

  • grade wool according to length, colour, evenness, burr content, strength and quality
  • oversee the preparation of wool for sale and ensure it meets industry agreed standards
  • advise on sheep classing and selection
  • supervise workers involved in wool handling
  • oversee the pressing, weighing and branding of wool bales by the wool pressers
  • ensure accurate records are kept on wool qualities and advise on laboratory test results
  • work with wool brokers and advisory institutions
  • implement quality management systems
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Working conditions

Most classers work throughout the State - in particular, in the agricultural regions. Most are males but there is nothing to stop interested females entering this field. You can look forward to the prospect of being on your feet for most of the day and having to regularly lift large amounts of wool or skin. Wool Classers are pretty much on the go throughout the day.

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Salary details

On average, wool classers can expect to earn between $1 204 and $1 360 per week ($62 585 and $70 728 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a wool classer develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase. 
  

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Tools and technologies

Sirolan Fleecescan is a laser based product that will test and classify up to 100 fleeces an hour. A COP (Cost of Production) Calculator may also be used to track quality and cost of wool production over a number of years. In general, however, a Wool Classer will rely on their experience and sense of sight and touch to determine wool strength, wool crimp and colour and the overall quality of each fleece.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a wool classer you usually need to complete a traineeship. The Australian wool classer traineeship usually takes nine months to complete.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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