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Beyond the Bale : March 2015
ON FARM 37 The National Merino Challenge is an AWI initiative designed to allow young people to engage with the Merino industry by developing their knowledge, skills and networks, and involves presentations and demonstrations from industry professionals. The 2015 National Merino Challenge (NMC) is heading to the Adelaide Showgrounds on 9 and 10 May to encourage the next generation of the wool industry. Run by AWI, the NMC is a two-day, national competition that improves the engagement of young people within the Merino industry by developing their knowledge, skills and networks. Designed around existing industry tools and techniques, students learn practical skills such as condition scoring, feed budgeting, ASBVs and visual assessment for animal selection and AWEX wool typing. Now in its third year, the NMC has involved more than 150 students and 30 teachers from 19 different secondary schools, universities and registered training organisations. In 2015 the NMC will include an expanded program for students to not only learn a balanced approach to sheep and wool appraisal, but knowledge of the entire wool Colin Newton and Scott Robinson of the Harvey Campus of the WA College of Agriculture at the National Merino Challenge Train-the-Trainer Workshop at Narrogin, in February. This year’s National Merino Challenge for students will be held in Adelaide in May. MORE INFORMATION To register for the 2015 National Merino Challenge in Adelaide, download the form from the NMC website www.awinmc.com.au Registrations close 27 April. NATIONAL MERINO CHALLENGE supply chain. A Careers Panel will also be a new feature of the 2015 NMC to show students the many different paths available within the wool industry. In February, AWI held NMC Train-the- Trainer Workshops in Narrogin, Adelaide and Tamworth involving more than 25 new teachers. These workshops ensure trainers are kept up-to-date with breeding and selection skills and industry knowledge, and provide resources to be used in the classroom. Scott Robinson from the Harvey Campus of WA College of Agriculture, who attended the Train-the-Trainer Workshop in Narrogin, said the workshop is set up well to help trainers involve young people in the sheep and wool industry. “I would absolutely recommend the course to other people; it’s perfect for our system and I wish more teachers would get involved in it. The NMC is a great opportunity for senior students to have exposure to industry leaders in various roles, from breeders to classers. The initiative shows that the opportunities in the wool industry are endless,” Scott said. Craig French from TAFE Western in Dubbo added: “I used to think there was a disconnect with young people coming through into the wool industry but the NMC is breaking that myth as there are plenty of young people genuinely keen on a future in the Merino industry; it’s very encouraging to see.” AWI gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the 2015 NMC’s sponsors who have committed to supporting the program; Royal Agricultural & Horticultural Society of SA, Australian Wool Network, Elders, Landmark and Aglive.