This May, the Angus Foundation announced the winner of the AuctionsPlus Cadetship, an exciting program offering a unique perspective on how online marketplace AuctionsPlus works and the important role they play in global food production.

Here, the dedicated and eager Angus Youth member Bonnie Cox gives insightful feedback on her experience. This invaluable perspective of the program is important to the Angus Foundation, a collective funded by Angus Australia members who pride themselves on continuing to expand the programs on offer.

All programs and scholarships funded by the Foundation are designed to encourage and assist the involvement of young people in the Australian beef industry and to provide a vast array of professional development opportunities for young beef breeders.

Week One
The three-week program started off at the AuctionsPlus head office in North Sydney, where Bonnie was set to work within their day-to-day operations. Her recount of this experience shows how immersive the training was, which shaped a holistic and unique understanding of how online livestock sales are run.

“I had a great first week in North Sydney at AuctionsPlus where I was placed in the Market Operations team, where they handle building and preparing for a sale, running the sale, and post-sale snapshots and communications,” Bonnie said.

During this time Bonnie was given a general overview of how sales run behind the scenes.

“I was given a laptop and I sat in on the WA fortnightly cattle sales with Maddie and she explained how the website operates from the backend.”

Following this Bonnie was taken through pre-sale checks such as checking catalogues, double-checking EBVs are correct for stud sales and adding final weights and
reserve prices.

”I observed a Helmsman’s sale take place for Reiland Angus and then I helped build the National sheep sale that runs Tuesday/Thursday.”

As the week went on, Bonnie was given more hands-on opportunities, whereshe learnt the first steps to preparing and building sales from that first call with an agent andwas involved in the Monterey Angus and Murray Grey Sale, the National Weaner and Yearling Sale, the Jamestown Sheep Sale, as well as observing an Equine Helmsman sale be prepared for bidding to open.

Come Friday, Bonnie was immersed in the action with the large number of sales running.

“A large dairy bull and cow sale went wrong every chance it got, and it was great to see the team handle it so well.

“I sat in on the Speriby North Angus bull sale and was given access to the staging website, where I could have a go at keeping up with the sale and entering prices as the auctioneer went along. I found this challenging but very enjoyable.”

Other skills acquired included customer service training and data input when booking sales.

At the end of her first week Bonnie said she was surprised at how much manpower is used behind the scenes to conduct the online sales.

“I’ve had a great week and learned quite a bit. I, like most, thought so much of the process was automated.”

One thing that appealed to Bonnie during this time were the social aspects that are incorporated as part of team building to make the workplace a fun and inclusive environment.

“The office takes part in casual netball competitions every Tuesday, so I stayed late and joined the team and Thursday is also office trivia day!”

Week Two
During her second week, Bonnie spent her time with the Regional Agency Services team – the main ‘face’ of AuctionsPlus to agents and farmers, and the team that speaks with agents and book sales.

“The work they do is quite similar to a sales role and during the week they had sales training which I took a lot from to apply to my current role.

“The team are very good at what they do. I can say they’ve completely sold me on selling commercial lots through the website, I’ve already gotten Dad on board with it!”

 Week Three
The third week of Bonnie’s placement saw her travel to Naracoorte in South Australia to attend an AuctionsPlus Assessor School, where those wishing to list stock on AuctionsPlus are put through training that allows them to become accredited Assessors.

“Week 3 in Naracoorte was absolutely awesome,” Bonnie said.

“I got to meet 22 agents, most were from SA, with one from WA. I had some great conversations with a few of them and came away from them with a few new ideas for my own enterprise in the future.”

During the Assessor School Bonnie did both cattle and sheep assessments.

“I gave both a good crack and learnt a bit more about cattle assessing than I already knew and learnt about sheep assessments for the first time! We also did a few mock assessment entries to the website which was very handy to know.”

Bonnie describes her overall experience of the program as rewarding and beneficial to her career prospects for the future.

“I really loved my time away, some of the things I got to learn and the conversations I had have already proved invaluable.”

Following her time in South Australia, Bonnie returned to the office to spend time with the Marketing team, where she developed some hands-on practical skills though creating blogs and email campaigns and working on social media campaigns.

“This was right up my alley as I’ve got quite a large creative side and to be able to mix that with my love of the industry was really fun, with a highlight seeing one of the photos I took scheduled across the social media channels.”

At the time this article was written, Bonnie was working with the Integrity team and is already impressed with how the team handles disputes and is very keen to get a further look into this aspect.

Once Bonnie finishes up her placement with AuctionsPlus, the next part of the cadetship will see her complete the Marcus Oldham Rural Leadership Course to further her qualifications at the hugely renowned agricultural and business management college during August.

By Dzintra Menesis, Marketing Officer/Graphic Design