STUDENTS from WA College of Agriculture Harvey were reassured they were on the right track to a rewarding career when they visited the Western Wool Centre (WWC) last week.
Elders Wool hosted a visit by the 39 students who toured the wool store and show floor where they saw the college's wool samples displayed and buyers from Lempriere Wool and Global Wool Exports inspecting the samples.
"Just remember, agriculture now employs more people than mining does in WA, so you have chosen the right industry to be in," Elders WA wool sales manager Danny Burkett told the year 11 students.
Elders' Upper Great Southern and South West district wool manager Tim Burgess explained the processes involved in preparing the wool for sale.
The college has a flock of 500 Merino breeding ewes, managed by the students who also helped with shearing in March, producing 16 bales.
Four of the students, Danielle Mauger, Balingup, Shelby Jolly, Moora, Steph Logan, Harvey, and Emily Collins, Perth, are completing a Certificate III in Agriculture which includes a wool-handling course.
They helped Mr Burgess prepare and lot the wool in March.
Accompanying them was Certificate IV in agriculture student Stuart Richardson, Pinjarra, who is a sheep industry trainee at the college two days a week and a technical officer for three days.
"The students helped with the shearing and we try to expose them to a range of experiences over a cross section of agriculture," said Harvey Ag sheep section technical officer Steve Adams.
"We try to get them up here (WWC) once a year as a part of that.
"The hope is we might just trigger something - a special interest that leads to a career.
"The industry is just crying out for young people to become involved."
The students also toured the Muchea Livestock Centre yards and livestock exporter Wellard Group's Fremantle premises.
The college wool was released for sale by auction over several sale days and also sold on the electronic market to try to maximise the college's return from its sheep enterprise.
On Wednesday last week five bales in two lots of 17.6 micron, 65 millimetre staple length wool and 17.7m, 88mm wool were put up for auction.
The college did well considering prices across all micron ranges from 20 and finer took a tumble and the Western Indicator lost 13 cents to 1357c/kilogram clean on the first sale back after a non-sale week at the WWC.
A one-bale lot of the shorter, slightly finer Harvey Ag wool made 1000c/kg greasy and a second four-bale lot sold for 895c/kg, both relatively good prices given the soft market.
Brokers had hoped prices might firm because Melbourne and Sydney wool markets had indicated late trading gains the previous week when there were no WWC sales.