A 27-year-old woolgrower has launched a new industry body to represent young people in the wool industry.
The new body, dubbed the Young Wool Group, is the brainchild of Monica Ley from Coonalpyn, South Australia.
Ms Ley said the Young Wool Group's aims to provide an opportunity for all young wool industry participants to be formally recognised and meaningfully represented within industry decision making.
"While there are a number of valuable leadership programs available to young wool industry participants, such as AWI's Breeding Leadership Program and the Peter Westblade Scholarship, their primary focus is on teaching young people how to be leaders rather than forming any kind of representative group," she said.
"Through The Young Wool Group, I want to provide an opportunity to put those leadership skills into real action and open doors to those outside the traditional grower sector."
"Prior to entering the wool industry, I participated in other agricultural industry youth programs and saw the benefits they offered both the industry and their members.
"When I began my career in the wool industry, I immediately looked for a similar group and found that there wasn't one."
"Youth representatives on wool committees are too often young people who are just there to represent the views of established industry organisations, rather than being able to represent their own generation and its priorities and ideas."
Ms Ley, also a director of the Australian Wool Growers Association, said she last week took part in an Australian Wool Innovation Wool Consultation Group meeting and there was significant discussion on the need for greater involvement of young people in industry decision making.
"This is something I have been thinking about for a while, and after hearing this feedback last week, I decided it was time to take action and form The Young Wool Group," she said.
"People aged 35 and under are still underrepresented in decision making.
"We are a generation of young of people who will take the take the industry forward because we are passionate about wool.
"We have our finger on the pulse of new thinking, new technologies and cutting-edge innovations.
"I want to connect these people to each other, to mentors, to opportunities and enable them to grow as leaders."
Since releasing an online survey on Friday to gather feedback on the idea, Ms Ley said the response had been overwhelming and she was surprised at how quickly people came back to her.
"While 56 per cent of respondents said they were primarily wool growers, there were also people who were in the shearing industry, farm consultants, wool brokers, ag teachers, so really quite a diverse group of people interested in being in involved," she said.
"The majority of people who responded said they would be interested in being part of such a group.
A website and social media accounts for The Young Wool Group are due to launch within days, along with a call for expressions of interest from young growers keen to be involved.
The group is expected to be up and running in early 2022.
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