Young leaders of the future made up the first industry team to be involved in the prestigious National Merino Challenge.
The two-day event draws secondary school and university students from across the nation where they test their skills and knowledge in seven wool and sheep industry-focused activities including Merino fleece, production, breeding and selection.
Furthering its commitment to provide its staff with a thorough and complete understanding of the wool and sheep industries, Australian Wool Network provided David Mahilraj (Bathurst), Kate Methven (Horsham), Emma Turner (Launceston), Ally Colwell (Sydney) and Luke Darby (Sydney) with the opportunity to attend the event held at the Sydney Showgrounds.
AWN central west NSW regional manager Brett Cooper was the team’s trainer/mentor and could not speak highly enough of the event.
‘‘The board and management of AWN wanted to give our staff some exposure and experience in these activities and give them the opportunity to meet other young people and professionals in the industry,’’ Mr Cooper said.
‘‘This is a great learning environment and offers one component of our aim to expose staff to all facets of the sheep and wool industry as there are so many directions to aim for within the industry.
‘‘It is great to have them out of the office, training them and taking them to these events where they can meet other like-minded people.’’
Mr Cooper said he would like to see an industry section in next year’s event.
‘‘AWI are to be applauded for running this fantastic event and it would be great to see an industry section included as others have indicated they are very interested in being involved,’’ he said.
Horsham-based Kate Methven said there was always something new to learn.
‘‘This was my third Merino challenge and it was really, really good,’’ she said.
‘‘There was lots of networking and the chance to see others’ perspective on the industry and the direction it is taking.
‘‘I would love to see the organisers incorporate an industry section in the competition as I believe it is all very worthwhile.’’
A supporter of the National Merino Challenge since the first competition in 2013, AWN is looking forward to incorporating the annual event into its career development calendar for young team members.