South Australian woolgrower forms The Young Wool Group to give youth a voice

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The Young Wool Group founder Monica Ley.
Camera IconThe Young Wool Group founder Monica Ley. Credit: The Young Wool Group/The Young Wool Group

Young people working in the wool industry are set to have greater involvement in the decision making process through the formation of a new representative body.

This is the aspiration of Monica Ley, a young woolgrower from Coonalpyn, South Australia, who has founded The Young Wool Group.

Ms Ley, 27, was appointed as a Wool Growers Association director in October and has managed Canowie Poll Merino stud for the past two years.

She grew up on a dairy farm — milking cows at 3am — but always had a family connection to the Merino and “fell in love with wool” before gaining a wool classing certificate to kick start her career.

Through her leadership role with The Livestock Collective and recently completing post graduate studies in animal science at Charles Sturt University, she is advocating for better industry communication and supply chain transparency.

“Through the group, I want to provide an opportunity to put learned leadership skills into real action and open doors to those outside the traditional grower sector,” Ms Ley said.

After meeting with grower groups and government at a recent Australian Wool Innovation’s Wool Consultation Group meeting, Ms Ley said their was significant discussion on the need for greater involvement of young people in industry decision making.

“Attendees recognised the need for whole-of-industry succession action if the wool industry is to prosper,” she said.

“After hearing this feedback, I decided it was time to take action and form The Young Wool Group.

“People aged 35 and under are still under-represented in decision making.”

Ms Ley said the generation of young of people who would take the industry forward were passionate about wool.

“We have our finger on the pulse of new thinking, new technologies and cutting-edge innovations,” she said.

“I want to connect these people to each other, to mentors, to opportunities and enable them to grow as leaders..”

Through an online survey to test the youth idea with industry, Ms Ley said the response had been overwhelming.

“I’ve been contacted by multiple industry organisation, corporations, other associations and many individuals of all ages who have welcomed this initiative and expressed interest in supporting or joining The Young Wool Group,” she said.

“It will be overseen by a diverse board, with national representation and board members will represent all aspects of the industry.”

Ms Ley said she would be launching The Young Wool Group’s website and social media accounts as well as calling for expressions of interest from people aged 35 and under who would like to become involved as board members and group members.

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