Project Description

The National Merino Challenge (NMC) is a two-day, national breeding competition which aims to improve the engagement of young people with the Merino industry by developing their skills and networks.

It involves presentations and demonstrations from industry professionals and the participants compete through a series of ‘mini challenges’ designed to evaluate their knowledge of Merino breeding and selection, production and fleece.

The Challenge has two sections - late secondary and tertiary - and is open to years 11 and 12 and tertiary students, Australia-wide. The tertiary sector includes undergraduate university students and those studying through TAFE or another RTO.

A key part of the Challenge is the annual, two-day Train-the-Trainer (TtT) Workshop, which ensures trainers are kept up-to-date with breeding and selection skills and industry knowledge (including recent research outcomes) so they can transfer this knowledge to their students. The NMC provides teachers with materials (whether or not they are able to attend the TtT Workshop) to prepare their students for the Challenge, as well as providing the students with materials they can use to prepare before coming to the NMC. Training for teaching staff will commence in February 2015 with training now being offered in Tamworth, Adelaide and Narrogin.

Students can choose to do as much or as little work in the lead up to the NMC as they like. Materials are provided to all participants and their teachers to create a more even playing field.

The inaugural NMC was held in Dubbo, followed by the 2014 event in Melbourne. Students were required to attend the two-day workshop, which incorporated an industry dinner to allow the students to meet key industry figures. This years’ event is expected to be even bigger and better. It is being held in Adelaide in May 2015.

View winners of the National Merino Challenge.

For more information, please visit the National Merino Challenge website www.awinmc.com.au