Hartpury students given an opportunity to showcase their sheep shearing skills

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Hartpury’s agriculture students learned the secrets of successful sheep shearing at the college’s new farm.

A group of college and university level Agriculture students gained practical experience on the sheep shearing course. Many of them also achieved an industry-recognised sheep shearing qualification – the Blue Seal award - adding another string to their bow for when they start out on their careers.

The course was run and assessed by the British Wool Marketing Board, with approved assessors overseeing the students as they learned sheep shearing skills and techniques.

As well as learning the most effective and safe sheep shearing methods, they also found out more about shearing equipment, wool care and working with sheep. Then, for their final assessment, the students were required to shear three sheep in 30 minutes at Okle Clifford Farm.

The farm, in Highleadon, has recently been acquired by Hartpury and is providing additional educational opportunities for students to learn about best practice in beef, sheep and arable production, while also playing a leading role in the college’s biodiversity project.

Hartpury Agriculture lecturer, Phil Woodman, said: “Some of the students already had experience of shearing and are already working towards careers that will involve this skill, but others had very little or no experience prior to the course.

“I am extremely proud of the students who participated. The course is a fantastic opportunity for our students and can lead to them securing shearing contracts or finding work abroad.

“Giving our students practical experience and supporting them to achieve qualifications and skills outside of their course means they are a step ahead when they are looking for a career in the agricultural industry when they leave us.”

Austen Penfold, one of the students involved, said: ‘It was my first time sheep shearing and the hands-on practical experience was really interesting and enjoyable. I am not from a farming background so, for me, this was a great opportunity to gain a valuable skill while increasing my knowledge.”

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