Fox & Lillie welcomes Longerenong students for wool industry placement

The Fox & Lillie Group recently hosted Longerenong scholarship recipients Charlotte Cain and Patria Lees for industry placement where they gained hands-on experience in the company’s wool brokerage, direct buying services and export division.

Last year, Charlotte Cain from Carisbrook, Victoria, and Patria Lees from Ullswater, Victoria, were each awarded a Fox & Lillie Wool Scholarship worth $5,000. The Fox & Lillie scholarships provide financial assistance towards their tuition fees over the two-year course period at the college and students are also offered work placement during their second year of study.

Fox & Lillie has been working with Longerenong College for seven years now as part of the company’s ongoing commitment to attract more young people into the agriculture industry, particularly in wool. The work placement is designed to give students hands-on industry training to support their studies and expose them to various career opportunities in the wool industry.

Over the course of industry placement, Charlotte and Patria gained experience in store door wool buying, wool brokering, showfloor logistics, and the wool auctions, as well as gaining experience in wool trading and exporting. They also had the opportunity to visit two local wool scourer and carbonising mills in Melbourne to see a couple of Fox & Lillie’s orders going through early-stage wool processing before being exported overseas.

Patria, who has mainly had exposure to the on-farm operations of the wool industry said she really enjoyed being able to see a different part. “Most of my exposure to date is the on-farm and shearing side, so being able to learn more about wool exporting, and visiting the scouring and carbonising mill was a big highlight for me.”

For Charlotte, client visitation was one of the areas she enjoyed the most. “I really enjoyed going out on the road and seeing a bit of the countryside and getting to meet a few clients and understand the industry from a wool marketing perspective.

Both Patria and Charlotte are undertaking their wool classing qualification at Longerenong College as part of their studies and were able to put that into practice while learning a few new skills.

“I learnt a lot from working in the store door buying and showfloor operations about wool preparation. I gained some really good insight into what to look for in wool, how it feels and understanding how it is categorised.” said Charlotte.

“We’ll be able to take that back and apply it to the remainder of our wool classing studies.”

The Fox & Lillie Rural business is growing and there have been some instances where industry placement has led to career opportunities for some past Longerenong students.

Fox & Lillie Rural’s Human Resources manager Casey Ritchie said “I would encourage people who are looking for a career in wool to be proactive and approach the companies you are interested in working for.

Fox & Lillie Rural do not always have job vacancies but we have an ‘Expression of Interest’ section on the careers page of our website, and we encourage people to utilise this.”

Patria Lees, Charlotte Cain and James Lillie at Fox & Lillie.

Mike Kilcullen And Charlotte Cain

Charlotte Cain

Patria Lees in the AWEX sale room.