Proposed Young Wool Group wants a say in the industry

Terry Sim December 10, 2021

Founder of the proposed Young Wool Group Monica Ley.

A PROPOSED group representing the Australian wool industry’s youth will need to be consulted on future industry decisions, the proposed group’s founding chair said today.

South Australian Monica Ley launched concept of The Young Wool Group on social media last week, calling for expressions of interest from industry people up to 35 years as directors, members and corporate partners.

The 27 year-old is the livestock manager for Canowie Poll Merino Stud, has recently become a director of The Australian Wool Growers Association and next year will participate in Australian Wool Innovation’s Breeding Leadership course.

Ms Ley said her social media survey last week gauging interest, priorities and expectations from young wool industry people was her “consultation.”

“I received over 150 responses in the first day.”

Ms Ley said the industry has had youth ambassadors and NextGen representatives as junior participants in established organisations.

“They are not there representing young people within the industry specifically, they are there as a young person in that particular organisation and that’s fine.

“That’s the way it has been done for the previous few decades,” she said.

“But there has been no singular organisation that has been solely dedicated to focussing on the young people in the industry.

“There is no existing organisation that has a program that is inclusive of all young people in the wool industry, regardless of being a grower, or a shearer, or an ag teacher, or a broker – there is not organisation that houses all young people in the industry,” Ms Ley said.

“This is a gap that has been identified by myself and several of my associates within the industry.”

Ms Ley said she wasn’t invited to become an AWGA director to represent the industry’s youth and would be maintaining her position on that board.

“The Young Wool Group has no association with AWGA, I’ve been working on this project for six months before I even began at AWGA, it’s completely unrelated.

“Like a number in the wool industries, we all where multiple hats,” she said.

“I’m highly skilled at multi-tasking and like most other people who are presidents of football clubs, they’re stud Merino association members, they do multiple things at once, and it is entirely possible to do that.”

Ms Ley said young people need to be consulted because industry decisions affect their careers.

“I think The Young Wool Group and its members will need to be consulted as part of the conversation for future industry decision-making, regardless of what capacity that’s in.

“By 2030, those who are currently under 35 years old will make a majority of the workforce, so they need to be involved in the conversations and discussions regarding decisions that will directly affect them and the industry that they will be a part of in years to come.”

On social media, Ms Ley said she has had the guidance of “industry personnel and mentors” behind the scenes for months to form the group.

“They’re silent mentors at this point in time; they are my own personal mentors that I’ve had for years in the industry and they are supportive of me establishing a group like this and they are happy to be silent partners at this point in time.”

Ms Ley said she is funding the proposed group, but she said it will be possible to fund it through memberships.

“To create opportunities for young people is exceptionally easy, you just need a way forward, you just need a plan and you just need to act on it.

“There will be membership fees and the fees will go directly toward creating training opportunities, networking events, and other activities and it will basically be run as a not-for-profit.”

Ms Ley expected the group’s website will be launched within days, along with expressions of interest requests for various levels of involvement. There will be whole-of-supply chain on the TYWG board with regional representatives, members, affiliate members and corporate partners, she said.

“It will be myself as founder and chair and we will have a board, who will be my equal partners, and then we will have our regional reps, and that will provide a distribution of leadership opportunities within The Young Wool Group and there will be, no doubt, opportunities for general membership to have leadership opportunities.”



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