TWO new additions to the Westcoast Wool & Livestock team have found careers in the wool industry, coming from very different backgrounds and experiences.
Louis Abbey, 22, who joined Westcoast's wool broker team last month, said he "basically grew up in shearing sheds".
His parents are Carolyn and Ross Abbey, shearing contractors at Badgingarra.
His grandfather, Tony Abbey, was a wool agent at Badgingarra for some years for Westcoast Wool & Livestock.
"Wool and shearing sheds have always been part of my life," Mr Abbey said.
"I used to work for my parents as a presser.
"I got told not to learn to shear, so I didn't."
After he completed his education at boarding school in Perth in 2016, Mr Abbey started working in woolsheds in bulk class, the usual first step for somebody entering the broking side of the industry.
When an opportunity to join the Westcoast team arose last month, he jumped at it.
He has been shadowing director, wool auctioneer and broker Danny Ryan.
"I've been helping other brokers out lotting clips (preparing wool for auction) and I've been out with Danny meeting woolgrowers," Mr Abbey said.
Over coming weeks he will be introduced to more of the Westcoast Wool & Livestock network of wool agents and to some of the woolgrower clients.
He will also spend time at the Western Wool Centre (WWC) pencilling for Mr Ryan as he auctions wool.
"I would like to try auctioneering too, down the track," Mr Abbey said.
In contrast, Ben Ruscoe, also 22, who joined Westcoast Wool & Livestock's export team last month, grew up in Willetton with no experience of greasy wool.
Growing up the closest he came to wool was five sheep - basically woolly lawn mowers - that shared the family's small Southern River hobby farm with horses and chooks.
His interest in wool as a career option only began after he started studying for a degree in economics and business at Murdoch University.
Looking to earn some money, by chance he found a job working two days a week for a wool buyer.
The buyer buys wool at auction at the WWC for one of Australia's largest wool exporters based in Melbourne and also for one of the oldest Australian names in wool trading, based in Adelaide, so Mr Ruscoe received a good grounding over four years.
When he graduated with his degree last year and began looking for a permanent position, the wool industry was the obvious choice.
"(The wool buyer he had worked for) knows a lot of people in the industry and put the word out that I was looking for a full-time job in wool," Mr Ruscoe said.
"As a result, Luke (Westcoast Wool & Livestock managing director Luke Grant) sent me an email and I started last month.
"I'll just be buying wool at the start, but with my economic and business degree I can transition slowly into what Luke does - I studied exports at uni, logistics, side markets - it's something I could do later on."
Initially he will be going to the WWC and working with Westcoast's export wool buyer Gavin O'Dwyer.
Westcoast Wool & Livestock director Brad Faithfull said employing young people was about "continued succession".
"We're still a very young group, but we just see a prime opportunity with a couple of young guys who have presented very well to our operation and expressed strong interest in joining our team," Mr Faithfull said.
"One is coming onto our brokering division and the other onto our export division.
"We're very excited to have young men of their calibre coming onboard.
"It is all to do with the continued growth of Westcoast Wool & Livestock.
"Our vision is to continue to grow and offer that service, not just within the agricultural industry, but from an overseas perspective," he said.
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