Australian farms are offering locals lucrative $100,000-a-year sheep shearing jobs as the industry battles to find enough workers due to Covid border closures.
The nation's wool industry normally relies on 500 workers from New Zealand to meet a surge in demand for sheep shearers every spring.
Those workers have this year chosen not to fly across the Tasman - deterred by the prospect of being left stranded in Australia or having to quarantine on their return.
The NSW Farmers Association has called on Australia's high school graduates to fill the labour gap, even if they have no experience.
Australian school leavers are being offered lucrative sheep shearing jobs as the industry battles against Covid-induced labour shortages (file image)
There are only about 3,000 local shearers - compared to the 10,000 who plied their trade in the industry 30 years ago.
Shearers with only six months experience can earn as much as $1,500 a week - or $78,000 a year.
Seasoned professionals, known as 'gun' workers, generally earn more than $100,000 a year.
The need for workers is particularly urgent in the shearing industry as farmers earn less for their wool if the sheep's coat is left on for too long.
NSW Farmers Wool