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Peter Westblade Scholarship encourages younger generation
Young participants learning from industry leaders at the Peter Westblade Wyvern Training Weekend in February.
Now in its tenth year, the Peter Westblade Scholarship delivers practical, hands-on training and mentoring to young people pursuing a career in the sheep and wool industry.
As one of the sponsors of the Peter Westblade Scholarship, AWI is supporting the next generation of leaders in the Australian sheep and wool industry. The Scholarship aims to identify, train and develop young people aged 18 to 30 who are enthusiastic about the industry and want to make a difference.
Established in 2010, the annual scholarship honours the late Peter Westblade, the Lockhart sheep producer who was passionate about breeding profitable sheep and was a strong supporter of young people interested in agriculture.
The winners of the 2022 scholarship, announced at the inaugural Peter Westblade Scholarship Ball at Wagga Wagga on 28 May are William Lyon (26) of Boomey in NSW, Mitch Rubie (21) of Forbes in NSW and Baylee Stapleton (24) of Jerilderie in NSW.
The scholarship provides practical training and mentoring from industry innovators and leaders, and the ability to develop a wider network of key contacts in the industry. The scholarship also provides opportunities to be involved in projects to promote new technologies within the sheep and wool industry.
Chairman of the Peter Westblade Scholarship Committee, Ben Patrick, was the scholarship winner back in 2014, which he says allowed him to expand his knowledge of Merino breeding operations.
“The 12-month scholarship opened many doors and I developed a strong network within the sheep and wool industry, which I still call upon today. The opportunity to learn from the best in the industry is invaluable to a young person starting out,” he said.
Wyvern training weekend
A key element of the Peter Westblade Scholarship program is the running of an annual training weekend, established to encourage, educate and mentor young enthusiasts with practical training for the sheep and wool industry.
The training is held at the state-of-the-art facilities of Wyvern Station, which is a 50,000-hectare property owned by T.A. Field Estates at Carrathool in the Riverina of NSW. T.A. Field Estates has been a long-term supporter of the Peter Westblade Scholarship and generously hosted the event again in 2022 which was attended by 35 keen youngsters aged 18 to 30.
The weekend in February consisted of hands-on workshops and mentoring sessions to improve the participants’ skill sets and build their industry networks. While the individual attendees gained a lot from the weekend, the benefits will also flow through to their employers and the wider industry.
There were 12 leading industry professionals, in addition to previous Peter Westblade Scholarship winners and committee members, in attendance to pass on their invaluable knowledge to the next generation. Topics covered included sheep selection, stockmanship, business skills, new agriculture technologies, professional development and wool marketing.
More information: www.pwscholarship.com.au
This article appeared in the June 2022 edition of AWI’s Beyond the Bale magazine. Reproduction of the article is encouraged.