TAFE Western Dubbo student Audra Field has upstaged some of the best young graduate woolclassers in the country to win the Australian Wool Exchange National Graduate Woolclasser Competition at the Sydney Royal Easter Show.
Ms Field, who lives and works in Mudgee, was presented with a Golden Stencil and $500 for winning the national competition, and also claimed the David Campbell Prize for Woolclassing for being the top New South Wales graduate woolclasser.
She beat 10 of the top graduating 2015 wool classing students from Registered Training Organisations in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia to claim the major prizes.
“I was hoping that I would go really well, but when you’re up against some of the best in the business it’s very hard to be too confident,” she said. “I was very shocked, but thrilled when they called out my name as the winner.
“The nerves were certainly up, and it was a tough competition that put our skills to the test, but overall it was a great experience and something I’m very proud of.”
TAFE Western Woolclassing/Agriculture Teacher Frank Roberts, who was also presented with the Dennis Teasdale Perpetual Trophy as the teacher of the winning graduate wool classer, was full of praise for Audra.
“Audra’s commitment to study and her practical and theory work was outstanding, and it’s very rare for someone so young to be so industry savvy,” he said.
“She has shown maturity and skills that are well beyond her years. The win was very much deserved and recognition for the hard work she puts in.”
Mr Roberts said Audra was assessed on five different activities, including crossbred classing, medium/strong merino classing, fine/superfine merino classing, AWEX ID and valuing activity and an oral presentation.
“Her classing jobs were of a very, very high standard and both her AWEX ID and value exercises were some of the highest scores produced, which ultimately led to her winning both the national and state awards,” he said.
Audra’s win was a fantastic result for TAFE Western after one of the organisation’s students Gabby Saliba, won both the national and state awards last year.
Mr Roberts was also extremely proud of TAFE Western’s second representative this year Suzie Carlon, from Lyndhurst, who finished a credible fourth, just narrowly missing out on a ribbon.