Blogs (Media Centre)

HOWLING SUCCESS: TAFE Digital helps former banking executive pursue his passion for pooches

TAFE Digital

HOWLING SUCCESS: TAFE Digital helps former banking executive pursue his passion for pooches

ANIMAL MAGNETISM: Career changer Mario Bassi, pictured with “Harlow”, has credited TAFE NSW with helping him make an unlikely career shift from banking to animal care.

9 October 2023

With demand for animal care services at its peak, TAFE NSW is helping deliver the skilled workforce needed to support the critical care and wellbeing of our beloved furry friends.

To meet this demand, TAFE NSW is providing practical training to graduates like Mario Bassi, a 58-year-old former banking executive who’s made an unlikely career pivot to pursue his passion for dogs.

He’s joining the industry during a pet care jobs boom, partially due to an uptick in pet ownership during COVID lockdowns, with 69 per cent of Australian households now owning a pet.

Mr Bassi had a banking career that spanned more than three decades and saw him work in senior roles in Switzerland, Singapore and Sydney.

But a decision during COVID to radically alter his working life prompted him to enrol in a Certificate II in Animal Care at TAFE Digital, giving him the skills to land a job as a kennelhand at Monika’s Doggie Rescue at Ingleside.

The Forestville man said the career shift had a profound impact both on his work satisfaction and physical health.

“I’ve wanted to work with dogs since I was six years old when I saw a movie about a police dog handler,” Mr Bassi said. “It never left me. Even when I started my corporate career, dogs were still a big part of my life. By the end of my banking career, I was exhausted and getting more annoyed by the people and politics of it.

“I needed a change but I wasn’t a spring chicken. That’s what led me to TAFE NSW.”

After volunteering at Monika’s Doggie Rescue as part of his TAFE Digital work placement, Mr Bassi was offered a paid position as a kennelhand last November. His roles include walking and feeding the dogs, and cleaning their kennels.

“Each and every dog has their own story and you get very attached to them,” he said. “It’s satisfying getting them ready to be rehomed and the job has been great for my physical and mental health.”

He said his TAFE Digital course gave him the hands-on skills and experience to make a running start in the industry, and is now considering enrolling in a Certificate III in Animal Care Services.

“The course was great; the teachers were very encouraging and eager to help you acquire the skills you need to succeed,” Mr Bassi said. “It was my first experience learning digitally and I love that I could study when and where it best suited my schedule.”

TAFE Digital animal studies graduates are in high demand, according to head teacher of animal care Lisa Terry.

“There’s such a high need for jobs like vet nurses, vet receptionists, animal attendants and kennel hands, and there will be an even higher demand for those jobs in future.”

Ms Terry said many TAFE Digital animal studies students secured work shortly after graduating, or even during their work placement. TAFE Digital offers anytime enrolment for courses including Certificate II in Animal Care, Certificate III in Animal Careand Certificate IV in Vet Nursing.


Media contact: Dan Johns, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist, mobile 0477 722 428