Age no barrier for young auctioneers

HAND these students a gavel and ask them to sell a pen of lambs and they will give it their best shot.

For some people the most terrifying thing they are ever faced with is fronting a crowd for public speaking.

Imagine taking that a step further and being an auctioneer, which involves public speaking, industry knowledge, maths and fast thinking as well.

In a place like Wagga good auctioneers are plentiful. This region is home to some of the finest in Australia. And it's arguably because Wagga is also the home of an extremely important selling centre.

Each week millions of dollars worth of sheep and cattle go under the hammer at the Wagga Livestock Marketing Centre.

It's a centre that claimed the Australian prime lamb auction record of $354.20 just last week.

Fast forward the clock one week and the Wagga Livestock Marketing Centre has become a backdrop for an educational excursion.

Wagga Wagga Christian College teacher, Belinda Everingham and her students visited the sheep and lamb market on Thursday to learn more about auctioneering.

But it wasn't just a case of observing the action. Students from this school, along with several others in Wagga, will participate in an actual auctioneering competition later this year.

The Wagga Wagga Christian College students have been learning from one of the country's best auctioneers, Joe Wilks.

Mr Wilks of Elders Wagga is a former winner of the national auctioneering title which is awarded at the Sydney Royal Easter Show. And he has taken the students under his wing to teach them some skills.

Mr Wilks said the students were doing well and had picked up the techniques quickly.

He said to see auctioneering taught in the classroom was positive for the rural industry in general and he hoped the skills would be helpful down the track.

Mrs Everingham said the upcoming inter-schools auctioneering competition was a wonderful opportunity for students to develop skills and confidence.

"It is an a totally different arena to what most of them are used to," she said.

"We started auctioning chupa chups at school but we have now progressed to selling lambs as the competition draws closer," she said.

Charlotte Nugent, Year 11 student and student leader of the cattle team, said learning about auctioneering was a great experience.

"I never thought about doing auctioneering until this opportunity came up but it is such a great new skill to develop," she said.

"Public speaking is something you can use in any area of your life."

The final of the inter-schools auctioneering will coincide with the Ganmain Show on August 24.