TOP DOGS: TAFE NSW PIC Animal Studies teachers Tamara Percival with animal studies students at the new facility.
Wagga students keen on a career with animals have been given a timely boost with two new teachers and a dedicated mini-vet clinic being established at TAFE NSW Primary Industries Centre.
The upgrade of the North Wagga campus comes amid strong projected jobs growth in the animal care sector, according to industry data.
There’s also been a strong surge in pet ownership – largely attributed to a need for more companionship during COVID lockdowns, with 69 per cent of Australian households now owning a pet.
Wagga senior vet nurses Tamara Percival and Ashlee Taylor have joined the animal studies teaching faculty at TAFE NSW Primary Industries Centre, while the finishing touches have been put on a new mini-teaching hospital at the site, including a range of state-of-the-art new equipment.
Ms Percival said she was drawn to teaching at TAFE NSW after witnessing skills gaps in work placement students at the clinics she worked at.
“What we found when students were coming into practice was that there were gaps in knowledge and skills,” Ms Percival said.
“I like the fact TAFE NSW gives students those hands-on, practical skills to be job-ready on day one.
“There’s such a high need locally 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.”
She said vet clinics were evolving rapidly and now offered services such as chemotherapy, CT scans and pathology for pets.
TAFE NSW PIC is currently running two animal studies courses – a Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing and a Certificate II in Animal Studies.
Ms Percival said the revamped section would ensure students were trained in a simulated real-world vet clinic.
“We’ve got brand new equipment, including an anaesthetic machine, dental machine and infusion pumps,” Ms Percival said.
“It’s been great to join the TAFE NSW team and it’s very rewarding seeing those lightbulb moments with students.”
The clinic also boasts new, state-of-the-art animal surgical tables, cages and other top-line veterinary equipment.
She said TAFE NSW Primary Industries Centre was forging strong relationships with local industry.
Media contact: Daniel Johns, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist, 0477 722 428