A former shearer and woolgrower believes Australia's wool industry could be rife with young workers - all they need is "a ticker and some willpower".
Jono Baker, Caragabal, has been everything in a shearing shed - from an owner, presser, roustabout, classer and shearer.
His story is simple, but quintessentially Australian - a diligent school leaver who believed in working hard to make a living.
Mr Baker, who now works at Jemalong Wool, Young, NSW, started his career as a shearer at an older age than most.
"I was working for a bloke in Grenfell where I was classing the shed, but they had an AWI learner wool handing and shearer training and he signed me up as a shearer," Mr Baker said.
"I said 'I'm not a shearer, I'm your classer', and he said 'well you're shearing now'.
"I knew how to shear a sheep, but I didn't do it full time."
So in 2010, Mr Baker began his shearing career at the tender age of 31.
He said for the first 12 months of his shearing life he was only filling in for shearers that didn't show up, but eventually he ended up a full time shearer.
And when he wasn't shearing, he was farming.
That busy lifestyle was how he spent his days for 11 years before he went back to classing after old footy injuries took their toll on his body.
When Mr Baker was shearing he was receiving $3.20 per head,
"I worked out I had to shear 159 sheep a day to clear $400," Mr Baker said.
"But now shearers are being paid $4 a head, or more, so you only have to shear 121 a day at the same tax rate to get the same money.
"For me to shear 159 was pretty rare, so you would just shear what you could for the day.
"Young people just have to be willing to have a go, have a heart and willpower and they could make a very comfortable living."
One person that has the willpower is 18-year old Emily Spencer.
A third-generation shearer from Tasmania, Ms Spenser only picked up a handpiece eight months ago after completing a AWI novice shearing school after two years as a shed hand.
She is now shearing plenty of sheep and earning good money.
She said the AWI novice wool harvesting course not only gave her the opportunity to learn, support and encouragement.
"I learnt how to shear in the sheds, but didn't have the correct technique, so it was important to be trained correctly, for me to improve my pace and the quality of my work," Ms Spencer said.
After just shearing her first 200, she is now setting a goal to reach 300 sheep in a day.
She said one of the best things about shearing is the money to be made.
"The money is good. I'm 18 and earning as much as my parents," Ms Spencer said,
"You can set your own pace, you can have a real go, you are your own boss and that's empowering.
"There are so many opportunities in the wool industry, it doesn't stop in the shearing sheds. I want to travel, save my money, one day buy a farm and run livestock."
AWI chairman Jock Laurie said stories like Ms Spencer should inspire more young men and women to take up shearing as a career.
"From shed hand to gun shearer in a matter of months; what a great story," Mr Laurie said.
"As an industry we must continue to support, mentor and retain staff.
"AWI has and will continue to train learner shearers and there has never been a better time than now for learner shearers to take a stand.
The AWI learner shearer toolkit is a new initiative where learner shearers are given a toolkit valued at $2000 to take with them to use and keep as tools for trade.
Since July last year, AWI has provided this toolkit to 143 leaner shearers.
"That means that there are 143 learners on stands that were not shearing a year ago," Mr Laurie said.
"We need more, we know that, and we are doing our best to attract and retain workers for the industry."
Mr Baker said if he's body would allow him to, he would return to shearing.
"If I could go back shearing tomorrow, I would. I would poke along, do my 130 a day and take home $2000 a week and not bust myself," he said.
"I would be willing to go through that pain to make that sort of money."
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