Central Victorian rouseabout Alice McKay has dreams of one day running her own wool classing enterprise after taking out a prestigious wool handling scholarship.
Ms McKay, 19, was awarded the Prime Super Shearer Woolhandler Training Inc Wool Classing Ambassador Award, recognising her industry commitment and in-shed teamwork.
"I grew up on a sheep farm at Drummatin and my dad is also a wool classer and I always enjoyed watching him as a kid because it was so fascinating," she said.
Ms McKay was selected for her "outstanding presentation, attitude, willingness to improve and for her dedication to becoming an elite wool classer" and will compete in sector at a number of upcoming agricultural shows.
"I did my first show a few weeks ago at Bendigo as a wool handler in the novice section and that experience was really good," Ms McKay, who finished fourth, said.
"You need to be a good team member and a good leader. There's also a lot of maths involved by working out numbers of sheep and how many bales you'll need from the mobs.
"I was good at maths at school, it was one of my favourite subjects, and it's a big job if you get the number of bales you need wrong."
In recent years, the industry has become more "female friendly" according to Ms McKay who said it was good career pathway to follow.
"There's an lot of older women who are wool classers and a lot of them want to retire but they can't because there's not much new blood coming through," she said.
"It can be tough sometimes but with all the new rules like having a toilet at each shed has made it an easier place to work.
"It's an awesome industry to work in, it pays well and I don't know why more aren't working in the sector."
The scholarship will cover the cost to complete a Cert IV in Wool Classing and to compete as a wool handler at shows including Beaufort this month and Deniliquin in 2020.
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