ANIMAL INSTINCT: Deniliquin woman Catriona Vickery, with one of her prize pooches Mason, credits TAFE NSW with helping put her on track for a career working with animals.
A passionate Deni dog shower has credited TAFE NSW with helping her navigate her senior high school years and put her on track for a career working with animals.
Catriona Vickery and her mum Shannon have been regulars on the nation’s dog show circuit, claiming a swag of ribbons with their prized rough collies.
Despite long dreaming of a career working with animals, Ms Vickery, 19, became disillusioned at school and if not for the opportunity to study a TVET animal studies course in years 11 and 12, would have dropped out. TVET provides students an opportunity to “earn and learn” at the same time, studying a TAFE NSW course and working a day a week in industry.
“Being able to do the Certificate II in Animal Studies through TAFE Digital was the only thing that kept me at school,” Ms Vickery said. “I always knew I wanted a career with animals and the TVET course gave me the practical skills and experience while I was still at school.”
While studying the course, Ms Vickery worked a day a week at Deniliquin Vet Clinic, an experience she described as “very enjoyable and a real eye-opener”.
She thrived in the flexible online learning environment of TAFE Digital, in 2021 being awarded the TAFE Digital Agribusiness Student of the Year.
“It suited me to do the course online in my own time,” she said. “It helped me fit it around my life and if I wanted to get up at 2am and do the course, I could.”
Currently working at the town’s Soul Pattinson chemist, Ms Vickery plans to re-enrol at TAFE Digital next year and study a Certificate IV in Vet Nursing.
TAFE Digital animal studies graduates are in high demand, according to teacher Robyn Bardsley, who still works in industry two days a week as a vet nurse. One reason for the industry’s jobs boom is due to an uptick in pet ownership during COVID lockdowns, with 69 per cent of Australian households now owning a pet.
“TAFE Digital gives students those hands-on, practical skills to be job-ready on day one,” Ms Bardsley said.
“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.”
She said vet clinics were evolving rapidly and now offered services such as chemotherapy, CT scans and pathology for pets.
Ms Bardsley 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 Studies, Certificate III in Animal Studies and Certificate IV in Vet Nursing.
Media contact: Daniel Johns, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist, (02) 6938 1441, mobile 0477 722 428