The wool industry is definitely where I want my career ambitions to take me
Charles Impey asks a promising student about her motivations, what she hopes to achieve and if there are any lessons for others with an interest in a rural career.
Grace recently graduated with a Certificate III in Agriculture through Tocal College and is continuing higher level studies at Tocal in 2014. Grace will be competing at the 2014 AWI National Merino Challenge in Melbourne on 24-25 May.
- At what age did you start to become interested in sheep and wool, and what influenced this interest?
Right from the beginning of my life I knew that my passion was animals and they have always played a big part in my life. However, I didn’t know that my passion was going to become stronger towards sheep.
Up to the age of 7, I grew up on a sheep and cropping farm in the Wimmera, Victoria, and although as a young girl I didn’t have much involvement with the property, I feel that these experiences were enough to have shaped the way that I feel about agriculture and especially livestock.
At various field days and throughout working towards my certificates my attention has always, in some way, focused towards sheep, and especially wool. Only in the past year has it become very clear to me that the wool industry is definitely where I want my career ambitions to take me.
- What careers or occupations are you interested in pursuing after you finish Tocal or will you be continuing with further studies?
After completing my Certificate III and IV and Diploma in Agriculture at Tocal College and completing my Certificate in Woolclassing, I aim to study agribusiness at Marcus Oldham in Victoria.
When I was nearing completion of Year 12 I dismissed the thought of any further business studies, as the path of the practical side of farming was the area that I believed I would take.
Now, however, I believe that one needs to have an understanding of both sides of agriculture. I see my future following the path of when the wool is off the sheep’s back, by becoming a full-time woolclasser or a wool broker. Either way, I am happy to just be involved in this industry.
- What aspects of sheep and wool do you enjoy most?
Working with wool is what I enjoy the most. I am currently completing my Certificate IV in Woolclassing and I have really enjoyed this from the start. In particular, I like working with superfine merino wool and this is probably because I love the soft touch of this wool.
In my short work placement time with the Australian Wool Network I really enjoyed the atmosphere of the wool auctions, mixing with producers and the buyers, and this opened my eyes up to this side of the wool industry, I really liked it. Although I love the woolclassing side of things, I can’t help but get excited when it is lambing season.
- What is the best advice you could offer a young person at school, who has an interest in agriculture, but is not sure what this interest may be?
I believe it is important to stay true to yourself. In many schools there are negative attitudes towards farming and I believe this is purely due to those who have not been exposed to agriculture, not understanding its true importance, the beautiful working environments and the passionate people working alongside each other.
I also believe that you have to experience many different industries to help you understand which industry you are most passionate about. Agriculture provides an abundance of varied occupations all around Australia and overseas and allows for people with many different skills of people to get involved.
- What do you hope to get most out of the National Merino Challenge?
The main aspect that I wish to gain by being involved in the National Merino Challenge is to meet like-minded people who will be able to help me expand my knowledge on the merino industry.
I also hope to get my foot in the door and gain more contacts of those who will assist me to achieve my goal of having a career in the Australian wool industry.