The NMC is an Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) initiative designed to allow young people to engage with the Merino industry by developing their knowledge, skills and networks, and involves presentations and demonstrations from industry professionals. Students participate in seven ‘mini-challenges’ over two days, testing their knowledge of Merino fleece, production, breeding and selection.
Techniques from several well-known industry initiatives, such as MERINOSELECT, Lifetime Wool and Visual Sheep Scores, are used throughout the NMC, giving students a realistic and practical insight into the tools available to growers to make more informed decisions.
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 university students and those studying through TAFE or another RTO.
The NMC provides teachers with materials and techniques to prepare their students for the Challenge, as well as providing the students with materials they can use to get ready for the NMC.
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 2019 NMC was held at Sydney Showgrounds on Saturday, 25 and Sunday, 26 May 2019.