SAYFC are renowned for their efforts to ensure that members get the most out of the organisation, with training days and courses being made available throughout the year, including the Cultivating Leaders project and health and safety workshops.

However, in recent years, the organisation has teamed up alongside the British Wool Marketing Board to offer funding for any SAYFC member to take part in a shearing course that is organised and undertaken by British Wool trainers and instructors ­– in a bid to encourage the younger generation to get involved with an age old tradition.

Whether you’re a novice or an expert in the art of shearing, this course will provide you with a back-to-basics training approach and also the opportunity to secure a blue seal qualification on completion or bronze, silver or gold for those more who may be more experienced.

The course is carried out over a two-day period on a voluntary farm, where trainees receive an introduction into shearing; covering the health and safety measures that need to be taken, followed by a explanation into the shearing equipment that will be used and then a physical shearing demonstration.

The first day is comprised of a lesson on the equipment that will be used, with demonstrations of how to use them correctly – including a breakdown introduction of the components of the clippers and how to maintain them, as well as how to set them up for shearing and what combs will work best for the job at hand.

Once you have learnt the basics of the clipping equipment, instructors cover the animal welfare standards that need to be acknowledged before an in-depth demonstration of the physical shearing process is carried out, including a step-by-step guide on how to shear, as well as how to manoeuvre the animal safely and correctly without causing injury.

With both the farmer and the instructors on hand to give advice, demonstrations can be repeatedly provided throughout the sessions but the majority of the day is hands-on practice where trainees are given one-to-one guidance.

After the first day, participants are sent home with a guidance booklet to study before the following morning, where 200 sheep will be ready and waiting to be sheared. Participants are selected to work in pairs and are encouraged to shear as many sheep as possible between themselves, with instructors keeping a close eye on the level of skillset each person demonstrates.

Once the physical shearing process has been completed, the instructors score each individual against a list of criteria to determine if an award should be presented, with all newcomers who meet the criteria being awarded their blue seal qualification. More experienced participants may be at the session to either brush up their shearing skills or achieve a higher award.

Although the course only runs for two-days, all participants are encouraged by the instructors to return the following year to keep their skillset fresh or join a contractor to improve their shearing abilities.

All-in-all a worthwhile course to be a part of and with numbers of participants taking part growing each year, it only goes to prove that the shearing industry has a bright future ahead of it.