Trainees put their backs into sheep shearing
By Martin Paul - Senior Reporter
A RANGE of training activities were put on by Utass (Upper Teesdale Agricultural Support Services) in the past month.
Sessions hosted last week included sheep shearing and the safe use of pesticides.
Utass training co-ordinator Julia Stephenson said some 20 people attended two sheep shearing courses at Hill House Farm, near Woodland, each covering two days.
She added: “Funding or part funding for most local trainees has been signposted by Utass and is coming from Teesdale Action Partnership’s (TAP) upskilling, employability and discretionary fund and also from the NFU Barnard Castle Branch membership scheme.
“We had one trainee at the weekend who came from Guisborough and stayed overnight in the area.”
Harry Mitchell, who farms at Eggleston and attended the course for the first time, said: “I’ve only just started [shearing]. The course is good and it has been helpful.”
Also attending was veterinary technician Lucy Mulley, from Castle Vets, who said: “It is very hard. They [the trainers] make it look easy.”
The training was provided by Bill Mason and Brian Copland through the British Wool Board.
Woodland farmer Carl Stephenson, who has more than 40 years of shearing experience, stopped by to see the youngsters’ progress.
He said: “It is a very good course with experienced trainers. They are good at getting it across.
“There was training [when I started] but it was through the ATB (Agricultural Training Board).
“Since the Wool Board took over they are a lot better.”
The NPTC five-day safe use of pesticides course was held at the Utass offices, in Middleton-in-Teesdale, with the practical sessions being held at the nearby auction mart.
Presented by Campbell Logue, the course including working with a mounted sprayer as well as an element on weedwipers.
Funding for the pesticides course was also from Teesdale Action Partnership and the NFU.