THE SHIELDS family, ‘Minona’, Dookie, recently celebrated 100 years of shearing, and one of the youngest member of the family, Emily, had the liberty of auctioning it off at the Melbourne wool stores.
Ms Shields is a brokerage coordinator at Fox & Lillie Rural, having just recently graduated from her traineeship at the wool brokerage firm, and said selling her family’s wool was an honour.
“I’m incredibly proud to have had the opportunity to sell some of my family’s wool, and the fact that it’s our 100th clip makes it an achievement for everyone involved,” Ms Shields said.
The 21 year-old grew up on her family’s farm, but said she had no plans of pursuing a career in the industry.
“I started getting involved in wool when I was in my early teens through our local show, but never imagined I’d pursue a career in the industry,” she said.
“I began a Bachelor of Arts in 2015 with the intention of studying law, and after the first semester, decided to pursue other interests through TAFE study.
“My dad classes our wool clip and I decided to study wool classing so that I could class our clip if need be.”
She said studying agriculture opened her eyes to the broad range of career opportunities within the industry.
“After another six months at university I saw the Fox & Lillie Rural traineeship advertised on Facebook, and decided to apply,” she said.
She said her day-to-day routine consisted of a lot of showfloor work, setting up, classing wool, and pressing bulk class bales, as well as auctioneering, which she took up after just four months in the role.
She said she’s been presented with many opportunities at Fox & Lillie Rural.
“I accompanied our wool marketing representatives on a study tour to China in 2017, where we learned about the wool processing chain in great detail,” she said.
“I’ve also attended various shows, and met all of our clients; I love talking and getting to know new people, so meeting grower clients is definitely one of the most enjoyable parts of the job.”
She said taking on a new role as brokerage coordinator has meant she’s still learning new things everyday.
“The transition has helped me understand a lot more about Fox & Lillie Rural’s country operations, as well as everything that goes into organising the weekly auction,” she said.
After taking a break from university, Ms Shields has recently returned to studying a law degree, alongside a commerce degree.
In her second year, she has just over three years to go.
“I’m not in any hurry to finish, I’d just like to be able to further my career in the future, and I think a degree will help me do that,” she said.
“For the moment I’d like to learn more about technical aspects of the industry, such as buying and valuing wool, and eventually, I’d like to transition into a role that allows me to interact with clients more.”
She said the people in the industry are incredibly passionate and dedicated.
“There’s a willingness to share knowledge, and support young people,” she said.
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