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Follow your passion early, realise your dreams sooner

Brooke is a rare species – she loves her job so much she comes in on her days off.

Follow your passion early, realise your dreams sooner

Break into the zoo

When you have such a strong enthusiasm for something that it becomes hard to ignore, it’s natural to act on it ASAP. For Central Coast zookeeper Brooke Barton that meant pursuing a career focused on her love of animals while she was still in high school.

“My school offered a TVET course as part of the HSC,” says Brooke.

“This was a gateway into the Certificate III in Captive Animals, which you can only get into with prior study or prior skills. The Cert III covered more of the field I wanted to get into - zoos - rather than the companion or vet industry,” Brooke says.

Open your eyes with further study

Brooke continued her learning journey by enrolling in a Certificate III to further her career goals.

“Not only did it further my understanding of animal husbandry through hands-on training, but we also did fantastic excursions such as visiting Aussie Ark, an animal preservation project that targets the near-extinct Tasmanian devil.”

If you know what you want - go for it!

Despite having graduated from TAFE NSW, Brooke is still so in love with her role as a zookeeper that she even comes in on her days off.

“I absolutely love it. The second a shift opens up I take it and I even go in on the weekend when I’m not scheduled, to build my knowledge,” Brooke says. “An extra day out of choice gives me more time to focus on the experience.”

Brooke’s animal-care advice

“Definitely do your Cert III as it gives you the practical knowledge and hands-on experience you need to work in the industry, and it helps you get a foot in the door with employers. It’s incredible. The teachers helped me build the awareness I needed and shared their stories of what it was like to work in the industry, which inspired me even more to follow this path.”


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