Alumni collaboration supports real-life agriculture career experiences through schools challenge

13 MARCH 2024

Alumni collaboration supports real-life agriculture career experiences through schools challenge

Charles Sturt collaborated with Bralca, a company run Charles Sturt alumni, to host the first phase of the NSW School Merino Wether Challenge. The University's sheep yards in Wagga Wagga was the collection point for schools.

  • Charles Sturt University the collection point of 160 sheep for the NSW School Merino Wether Challenge

A business run by a family of Charles Sturt University alumni has collaborated with the University to initiate the first phase of the 2024 NSW School Merino Wether Challenge.

Charles Sturt’s sheep yards in Wagga Wagga served as the collection point for high schools across the state participating in the Challenge.

Each participating school is allocated six wethers for six months, and students are required to take ownership and management of the animals before the Dubbo National Merino Ram Show in August, where they will be judged for meat and wool quality.

Charles Sturt and farming business ‘Bralca’ officially launched their collaboration for the first phase of the competition this week when students from Wagga Wagga, Blayney, Deniliquin, Hillston, Narooma, Narrandera, West Wyalong, Yanco, Yass, Boorowa, Crookwell, Barham, Young, Mount Annan, Karabar, Murrumburrah, Leeton, Walla Walla and Queanbeyan collected their sheep from the University.

Bralca Business Operations Coordinator Ms Brooke Watts graduated from Charles Sturt in 2021 with a Bachelor of Business (Management). She is from a family of Charles Sturt graduates, including her mum and dad, who are also the owners/directors of Bralca.

Bralca brought 160 sheep to the yards on Tuesday 12 March and up to 22 schools collected their wethers from the University on Wednesday 13 March.

Marketing Business Partner for Charles Sturt’s Faculty of Science and Health Ms Belinda Doherty said the University and Bralca share a vision for inspiring and nurturing students in agriculture.

“As a leading regional university, we want to support schools and their students in their learning,” she said.

“Supporting students studying agriculture and primary industries is a perfect alignment for Charles Sturt University.”

By participating in the challenge, students gain practical skills in sheep management, a better understanding of the wool production business, contacts within the merino sheep industry, networking opportunities and a positive perspective on a career in the sheep and wool industries.

Ms Watts said this is set to be the biggest year to date, with 70 schools and more than 1,500 students involved.

“It’s incredibly rewarding watching the program grow year to year,” she said.

“A collaboration with Charles Sturt University ensures students can broaden their horizons and have increased exposure to opportunities in the industry.

“We have a strong focus on promoting careers within the sheep and wool industry. This collaboration with the University ensures students have a positive perspective on the education options available to them, to support the sheep and wool industry.”

The NSW School Merino Wether Challenge is supported through funding and resources from Australian Wool Innovation, with coordination and logistic provided by Bralca. The purchase of the wethers is donated by the Dubbo National Ram Show and Sale association committee.

Media Note:

To arrange interviews with Ms Belinda Doherty, contact Nicole Barlow at Charles Sturt Media on 0429 217 026 or news@csu.edu.au

Photo caption: Brooke Watts and her father Ben Watts from Bralca with Marketing Business Partner for Charles Sturt’s Faculty of Science and Health Ms Belinda Doherty. 

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