Six young people fascinated by the chance of a career in the wool industry vied for the 2018 Peter Westblade Scholarship.
It now appears the trend is to provide two annual scholarships and this year’s entrants were of the highest calibre and strongly supporting the concept honoring the memory of one of the Riverina’s leading sheep breeders and mentors of many who now have successful careers in the wool industry.
Wagga Wagga-based sheep consultant and moving force in the program Craig Wilson spoke highly of the entrants and told the audience the final decision was very difficult, but advised those who had been unsuccessful in this instance to try again next year.
These are wonderful times for the wool industry Mr Wilson said, and he acknowledged the industry will always have highs and lows, but in this period of relative prosperity, he advised wool growers to make good decisions with respect to their financial situation.
“You are going to have people in your life that have a big impact on you,” he said.
“Take that opportunity, listen to what they have to say and just ask questions.”
Mr Wilson said the scholarship is all about encouraging young people and help them make better decisions toward their careers.
Anna Cotton is employed on the family farm, Kelvedan Estate, Swansea, Tasmania and intends to use the 12-month scholarship to educate herself further through learning from a range of wool enterprises and attending various industry events.
Ms Cotton has ambitions of increasing the wool weights produced on the family property whilst maintaining the frame and current micron range of the flock.
One day she hopes to register a Merino stud as a viable adjunct to the family’s current enterprises.
Joe Walden was the other recipient of a 2018 scholarship and he is currently employed on Cavan Station, Yass, home of the Bogo Merino stud and a large commercial Merino flock.
Mr Walden is particularly interested in the use of technology to capture data for analysis to ensure better decision making.
He intends to use the scholarship to build a professional network to further his knowledge of the wool industry.