2021 Peter Westblade scholars

Peter Westblade scholars passionate about the wool industry

Sheep
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Two young people who just happen to be from Murringo are the recipients of the 2021 Peter Westblade Scholarship.

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Austin Grace pursued his passion for Merino sheep when jackarooing at Egelabra, Warren after leaving school.

Austin Grace pursued his passion for Merino sheep when jackarooing at Egelabra, Warren after leaving school.

Rachel Pritchard is studying woolclassing and has attened shearing schools to further her knwledge of the Merino industry.

Rachel Pritchard is studying woolclassing and has attened shearing schools to further her knwledge of the Merino industry.

Two young people who just happen to be from Murringo are the recipients of the 2021 Peter Westblade Scholarship.

Rachel Pritchard and Austin Grace, who have each grown up on family farms are this year's scholars and each will take the opportunity to further their experience and network with industry leaders.

Established to honour the late Peter Westblade, who was passionate about supporting young people with an abiding interest in agriculture, the scholarship exists to promote the practical skills associated with the sheep and wool industry and aims to deliver hands on experience to young people aspiring for a career in this dynamic industry.

Third generation on the family farm, Ms Pritchard is currently studying wool classing at Cowra TAFE and has also recently attended a shearing school at Dubbo, to hone her skills with a handpiece.

"I love all aspects of the Merino sheep," Ms Pritchard said.

"And with my wool classing studies I want to learn as much as I can."

Ms Pritchard was presented with the encouragement award during the recent Mid-Lachlan Merino ewe competition.

"There are many opportunities for women in the wool industry," she said.

"And the Peter Westblade Scholarship is a great opportunity for me to spend time with people in the wool and sheep industry who are pushing the edge of production.

"I want to learn more about breeding Merino sheep for the future."

Austin Grace is also passionate about the Merino industry inspired through his family connection to the Demondrille Merino stud at Harden, and furthered during a two-year traineeship at Egelabra Merino stud, Warren.

As a Peter Westblade scholar, Mr Grace is looking forward to networking with leading sheep breeders, taking in their guidance and mentoring which will enhance his professional development.

"I believe you can work as hard as you want on the job, but its what you do away from the job that makes the difference," he said.

"It sets you apart from everyone else and the Peter Westblade scholarship will enable me to learn more about the industry and assist with my career progression."

During his time on Egelabra, Mr Grace studied by correspondence a bachelor of agricultural business management at Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga.

He will complete that degree with two years of fulltime study along with the certificate IV in woolclassing through Riverina Institute of TAFE and he has a clear vision for the sheep and wool industry.

"During the next ten years I would like to see an increase in education and training for young people, as well as programs getting more people into the industry," he said.

"I applied for a Peter Westblade scholarship because I believe it will benefit me and my career aspirations as it will provide further education, guidance and mentoring in professionally developing my career in the industry."

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The story 2021 Peter Westblade scholars first appeared on The Land.

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