James Nadin believes hands-on experience is just as important as completing a university degree.
And Mr Nadin made this realisation when he was halfway through his food and agribusiness course at The University of Sydney.
So after a year and a half of studying, he deferred his course, and has never looked back.
Now a wool buyer for G Schneider Australia, he is grateful for getting his foot in the door a year and a half ago.
“Everyone’s tailored differently, and I think there are people who are suited to uni and who need it for certain careers, but I don’t think I was built for it,” he said.
“I’m a believer in the other side, where experience is just as valuable.”
But he said one important benefit to studying was networking, and this, in an online world, was what landed him the job at G Schneider.
“There was a Facebook group for everyone in the ag community at uni, and there were always people putting up job offers, and one day someone put up this job ad, so I applied, had an interview and thankfully got it,” he said.
He said it was really good timing.
And it was a love for the industry that led Mr Nadin down the agriculture path.
The now Sydney resident grew up working on a sheep farm in Warren, NSW, where he enjoyed getting his hands dirty.
But it was a desire to know more about what happens after the product had left the farm gate that inspired a career in wool buying.
“I knew [the wool] went to a wool broker, but I never knew they had big wool auctions and that so many bales came through the system every week,” he said.
So being a part of the wool industry in such a big way at G Schneider has opened his eyes to a world he has become even more passionate about.
Mr Nadin’s weekly responsibilities generally follow the routine of the wool sales.
On Monday and Tuesday, he and two colleagues value all of the wool that is due to be sold on Wednesday and Thursday.
He said this process was originally overwhelming, and something he was still wrapping his head around.
“I go out with each catalogue and based on the different parameters, match all of the different types to the various orders we have,” he said.
The team then put these types into adequate price groups, so they have an idea of what prices they can bid up to in the auction room, and how many bales they need to secure at each sale.
He said knowing this information helps on sale day, when he works in room two at the Sydney woolstores by himself.
But he is in constant contact with his colleagues in room one via Skype.
He said teamwork had been key to the success of the business.
He said this process had advanced in recent years thanks to technology.
“Some older folk talk about what it was like back in the day when they used to have to go through and price each lot manually,” he said.
“It has made it a lot easier nowadays to put everything into an online system.”
He said it had been challenging buying at a time where woolgrowers had been making record-breaking money for their product.
“It’s great for growers but makes it difficult because the money doesn’t go as far, but everyone’s got to catch up to each other and figure out where the pockets are and areas that we can still target and make profitable,” he said.
He said he had continued to seek advice from his manager Tim Marwedel, and each day he had been “picking up more and more”.
Mr Nadin said he did not want to look too far ahead into the future.
But at the moment he was enjoying his current role, which enabled him to be close to friends in Sydney, and only a drive away from home.
“It’s a great job, it’s given me a lot of good experience which I hope to keep building on, and I’ve met a lot of prominent people in the industry,” he said.
The one thing he was sure of was that he was loving being in the agriculture industry.