"When I was a kid, this was my school," said Bruce Rock shearer Ethan Harder, pointing to the woolshed behind him. "If it wasn't to do with shearing, I didn't care about it." Mr Harder is regarded as one of Australia's best shearers, having set the eight-hour world Merino lamb shearing record in September, with 624 lambs. Now the 24-year-old is an inaugural WA WoolTAG ambassador and hopes to promote the industry, while inspiring other young people to consider a career in the woolshed. "I'm not a celebrity, I just shear sheep for a living," Mr Harder said. "But the way I look at it is, I can be a role model for the next generation, so I want to represent that by helping where I can, showing the time and motivating them in different ways. "That's one of the main reasons I accepted the ambassador role." Evidently, he was quick to leave an impression on the Lake Grace District High School year 9 students at AWI's two-day woolhandling workshop last week. "Hey Ethan, can you please sign this?," one of the teenagers asked, with a beaming smile and singlet in hand. It is fair to say Mr Harder was practically born in the wool industry, having grown up helping his parents Paul and Suzie Harder run their Bruce Rock contracting business, Harder Shearing. At just seven-years-old, he managed to shear his first 100 sheep and progressed to 200 by the time he was 12. A year later, Mr Harder's career took off when he completed a shearing apprenticeship through AWI, and he hasn't looked back since. "I've been in the industry my whole life - as a kid it was everything to me," he said. "Growing up, I enjoyed the hard work and through the hard work I enjoyed that I could be good at it. "I think that was a big part of it, realising that the more effort I put into it, the better I could become. "Even now I'm still learning about shearing and don't think I'm at my full potential." For Mr Harder, other drawcards to the industry have been found in the opportunity to travel and make good money. Over the past decade, he has shorn and competed in shearing sheds across the country and the world, including New Zealand, England, Ireland, Wales and all through Europe. He even has a small run between Belfast and Dublin, in a country town called Dundalk, where he shears every year. "Travelling around the world, shearing and woolhandling is a good experience, and an opportunity young people should know more about," Mr Harder said. "You can phone up a contractor, find a job and have it financed, then you only need enough money for flights there. "You can't really get that in any other industry." Separately, Mr Harder said there weren't many jobs people could come into, without any qualifications, and earn up to $45 per hour. He said a teenager, straight out of high school, could take home about $400 to $500 per day as a wool handler and, if they were good enough, up to $1000 per day as a shearer. Mr Harder said that's why teaching the right skills and technique, through workshops like those offered by AWI, was important. "Years ago, there was no one to teach you how to shear," he said. "You had to find a good shearer, watch them at work in the shed and then find the time to develop your own pattern. "A lot of those patterns we see now strain the back and body, so we are trying to teach people to look after their bodies." For Mr Harder the training and mentorship offered to newcomers in the industry has been one of the biggest changes he has noticed over the years. When he started those opportunities were limited or not available. "Nowadays there are videos on social media and online, but also people actually spend the time teaching others," he said. "They are able to watch, listen and learn and through that I think the industry is a lot easier to get into. "Whereas before, you might have been thrown straight into the deep end and had to earn your stripes." Another difference Mr Harder has noticed over the years are the stereotypes of woolshed workers being challenged. He said the "shear hard, drink hard" reputation was starting to shift, and shearers were being looked at more like athletes. And while shearing may not be for everyone, Mr Harder's interest has never swayed. In fact, he has only ever wanted to keep the dream alive - part of that has been breaking a shearing record. Having set the eight-hour world Merino lamb shearing record, his sights are now set on the nine-hour Merino lamb and eight hour Merino ewe record. "I've dedicated my life to shearing and owe it to myself and everyone else to carry on with it and be the best I can," Mr Harder said. "Life is different to shearing. "Anything can happen in life, but when you are shearing it all goes away and that's all you have to worry about. "Whatever has happened, I've always been able to hold onto shearing."