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Zack Currie's success story

Zack Currie, originally from Bonnie Doon, Victoria, developed a keen interest in agriculture during high school when he studied agribusiness – an interest that steered him to complete the Certificate II and III of Agriculture.

Through the Certificates, Zack was exposed to a range of potential careers through different farm experiences, with a sheep farm standing out; “it opened my eyes to the wool industry – I had a fair idea that was where I wanted to go,” he said.

“The money was fairly attractive at the time and for a young man to start work in shearing sheds, you didn’t have to go through and do an apprenticeship.”

Even though Zack started off as a rouseabout and wool presser, he liked the idea of becoming a shearer.

“It was a fair trade, the harder you worked as a shearer, the more money you’d make. It was a true way of earning a dollar.”

The history of the wool industry also intrigued Zack. “It’s rich in our history. It’s a workplace different to any other I’ve experienced. You can have a laugh and earn a dollar at the same time.”

Although keen to become a shearer, older and wiser heads in the shearing shed encouraged him to aim for the top as a wool classer – so he could gain a range of opportunities in the industry.

Zack thought it would be a good opportunity to gain a broader knowledge of wool and he began a Certificate III in Wool Clip Preparation, which lead to a Certificate IV in Wool Classing.

By the age of 18, Zack was a registered wool classer, able to work anywhere in Australia. At this point, Zack was recommended by his wool classing teacher to a manager from the Australian Wool Network (AWN) who was looking for keen young people to work in the industry.

“I got a phone call out of the blue asking if I would like to come in for an interview. They explained what the job of a wool buyer was. I didn’t even know what a wool buyer really was, but I knew it was a golden opportunity and I took it with two hands,” he said.

At the beginning of 2016, Zack moved to Horsham to start his training to become a wool buyer with the AWN. “I really love the job, there’s so many different things that you’ve got to do.”

Zack’s tasks vary from knowledge of the wool market, marketing wool on behalf of farmers, collecting wool, offering advice to farmers on location before shearing and testing wool in order to bid on it to purchase.

It’s not just knowledge of the wool that is important, he also has to work with a variety of personalities to do the job.

“You’ve got to be a people person – when a farmer drives through the gate, you’ve got to read their personality before they even get out of their vehicle,” Zack said.

Even though Zack relished the new challenges with the AWN, he missed working in the shearing sheds. He saw an ad for a wool handling competition and thought,“this will be alright, you never know, there’s a bit of prize-money involved.”

Zack started competing in events on weekends and eventually competed in a show circuit associated with Sports Shear Victoria. He worked his way up to the senior competition level, taking out first place in a recent state competition in Bendigo. Zack is enthusiastic to make the open competition where the competitors can make the Australian team and go onto the world competition.

“Last year it was in New Zealand and the year before, it was in Ireland. People go all over the world competing,” he said.

Through Zack’s work with the AWN, he met members of the Horsham Agricultural Society.

It wasn’t long before they asked him to volunteer his time and join the Society, “I thought, “I’ve only just moved to Horsham and I don’t know too many people, so why not?”

Along with helping to organise the Horsham Show, he is involved with the maintenance of the show grounds, ram sales and poultry auctions.

“I’m grateful because they’ve welcomed me with open arms and they’re like a little family now, we have a lot of fun.”

Zack also appreciates the range of experience he can draw upon from other members.

“There’s a lot of work involved and it makes you feel good about yourself when you lend a hand to a worthy cause.”

Zack is happy in Horsham, working with the AWN and with his many personal pursuits within the industry.

“I think I’ve settled really nicely in Horsham, the people are friendly and it’s a nice town. I couldn’t be happier. It’s a real success story I suppose.”

Zack’s tips:

– Show enthusiasm and have a good work ethic. If you study agriculture and show a keen work ethic, people will recognise that.

– Surround yourself with the right people in that industry. I was recommended to AWN for a job, so if you’re interested in the industry, word will get out and it will pay off.

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