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Starting young: Schools Auction Idol in SA teaches students about the art of auction

Mitchell Gillies Rostrevor College Winner 2013 Schools Auction Idol. Rostrevor College have been involved with Auction Idol since the first year in 2007.
Mitchell Gillies Rostrevor College Winner 2013 Schools Auction Idol. Rostrevor College have been involved with Auction Idol since the first year in 2007.

Raising the profile of the industry in the community, Schools Auction Idol teaches high school students about real estate via the ‘art of auction’.

The Schools Auction Idol program is on the brink of achieving its 10th year of operation, and it is slowly but steadily growing: in September 2015, the Inaugural Australasian Schools Auction Idol Championships was held at the Crown Casino in Melbourne between Victoria and South Australia. The program was founded in SA in 2007 by Lindsay Warner, who is a member of the Society of Auctioneers and Appraisers.

The students who participate undertake around 12 weeks of training made up of 45-minute sessions. They then go on to compete in heats, where they perform a ‘live, mock’ auction in front of judges and an audience of their peers. “Every year that the program has been running, there has been significant positive feedback from teachers and parents that their children have benefited from the self-confidence achieved by being part of this process,” according to Warner.

In 2016 this program achieved further growth and profile by being taken up in Queensland and New Zealand as well as achieving its strongest growth in South Australia and increases in Tasmania.

“The students learn real life skills (such as public speaking and professional presentation) but interestingly when the parents are met during the program, many realise their children understand more about real estate than they do,” says Warner.

Another very significant outcome of this program is that the real estate agents who become mentors within a school become ‘better’ agents in their own right.

“Once you begin to teach your profession to students, you need to ‘up-skill’ your own knowledge and competency to deliver information and education to students,” Warner explains.

And the program is indeed achieving one of its objectives: to inspire the agents of the future. The inaugural winner in 2007, Mia Vassalo from St Dominics, this year decided to commence her real estate career in Melbourne after 10 years in performing arts.

Principal of Pulteney Grammar, Anne Dunstan, had this to say of the program: “Auction Idol is a truly interdisciplinary experience. Students need to develop a ‘presence’, project their voices, speak articulately and persuasively, consider their body language, all whilst undertaking mental computation… the legalities surrounding auctions need to be memorised and most of all, the bidding auctioneers need to engage with their audience. Another very positive aspect of the competition is the mentoring that occurs in the lead-up to the heats. Experts from the real estate industry are generous with their time and expertise, and the guidance provided to the students is invaluable.”

To see this year’s finalists and to watch them in action, click here. For more information visit

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