Dominie Chetwynd from Crickhowell has been announced as the winner of British Wool’s 2023 Training & Development programme.
The British Wool Shearing Training & Development Programme was launched earlier this year, which offers one winner from each UK nation the opportunity of winning 12 months training and development on shearing, wool handling and the wool industry in general.
The training aspect will include attending a British Wool machine shearing course, followed by a gear course, a wool handling course and completing the programme would be a second machine shearing course. The development aspect provides the opportunity to get advice from experienced British Wool shearing instructors and also, depending on availability and shearing ability, the opportunity to gain on farm experience working with a shearing contractor. During the 12 months programme, the winners will also visit British Wool’s Bradford head office and wool grading depot as well as a scouring plant, following the wool supply chain process.
At 18-yeasr-old Dominie is on track to complete her A-Level’s in my final year at school, however in an interview with British Wool she shared her passion in farming; sparking her interest in shearing. “I’ve always been massively interested in farming and especially sheep farming, there’s so much I want to learn and be involved in within the industry. I am currently working as a relief milker on a local dairy farm which I really enjoy.
“Once I’ve finished school my plan is to work over the summer milking, with a shearing gang and whatever other opportunities I can find for work. In the autumn, I intend to go out to New Zealand, where I will be working in the wool sheds. I would also like to travel and work on different farms gaining a variety of experience.”
Although Dominie had limited experience in the sheep industry, having grown up on a farm that historically always had sheep, it is an industry that she has always lived on the edge of.
Her interest and desire for exposure to farming industries spurred Dominie on to entered the British Wool Training & Development Programme,
“My experience is limited but equally I don’t want to be the first generation in my family not to be involved in farming, particularly sheep farming,” Dominie said “I want to understand the culture, work in the culture and to be respected in the culture!
“I realise that farming is difficult particularly for sheep farmers, but it seems there is an increasing push towards heritage and history, people are increasingly becoming more interested in their heritage. The wool industry is a big part of heritage and history as it was a huge part of industry in previous centuries within the UK. I’m keen to get a better understanding of this history and wish to see the pressures on British farming and wool develop into a brighter future.”
Now due to start her training, Dominie shared her excitement for the future, saying: “I’m most looking forward to the opportunity of learning from people who have time to share their knowledge and being in a working environment where I can maximise my experience and learn.
“I’m also looking forward to sharing this experience with my family, friends and anyone who wishes to follow my progress on social media.
“I want to be able to share my experience and help others who may be limited to similar opportunities but want the chance to be involved.”