4 April 2018
Last month, PICA was delighted to welcome its newest member: the National Council of New Zealand Wool Interests Inc. The National Council comprises associations and organisations involved in the domestic and international trading of greasy and scoured wool including: wool testing houses; scours; brokers; merchants and exporters.
“One of our goals is to be a collaborative and effective pan-sector alliance that reflects the diversity of New Zealand’s people,” says Michelle Glogau, CEO of PICA. “Having the National Council onboard is another step towards achieving that goal.”
Philippa Wright, owner of Wright Wool and a member of the National Council of New Zealand Wool Interests Inc., is its representative on PICA’s Advisory Group.
“It’s an exciting time to join the alliance,” she says. “The fact that it’s still developing as an organisation means we can participate in its direction and contribute to its outcomes which will benefit our sector (wool) and New Zealand’s primary industry at large.”
Philippa sees collaboration as key to solving the capability challenges facing the wool sector.
“We’re all in the same boat so sitting together around the same table makes sense,” she explains. “We can have a bigger impact if we come together as one voice. We need to influence different people at different levels – government, universities, schools and students…It’s hard to do that on our own, and costly.”
Philippa believes that being open-minded and thinking laterally is fundamental to changing perceptions and expanding the wool sector’s pool of talent to meet its needs.
“Our sector is dominated by people over 50 years, but we need a mix of ages and broad range of skills to get ahead. It’s easy to find more people just like us but we need to attract young people who care about sustainability or who might have a degree in environmental science. We need people who can think differently and teach us new ways of introducing wool to the world. Old school networks might have helped us in the past but they’re not what we need for the future.”
Philippa mentions the challenge of exporting wool to Asia or Europe as an example. “It takes a whole team of people with a diverse range of skills. We don’t just need people who know about wool. We also need people who can speak multiple languages to help us negotiate international deals. They might have a Bachelor of Arts. The first step is to attract young people with the skills we need. We can teach them about wool along the way.”