The next generation of Shoalhaven animal carers has had a hands-on lesson in nurturing vulnerable wildlife as part of a special visit to the Wandandian Kangaroo and Wallaby Rehab Centre.
Twelve students from TAFE NSW Nowra took part in the real-world skills workshop, aligned to units in their Certificate II in Animal Studies course.
The course gives graduates the practical skills and experience to work in pet shops, boarding kennels and some other animal-related roles, and is also a pathway course to the Certificate III in Pet Grooming, Certificate III in Wildlife and Exhibited Animal Care and Certificate IV in Vet Nursing.
It comes amid a massive surge in pet ownership nationally, with 69 per cent of Australian households now owning a pet - up eight per cent in a year – largely attributed to a need for more companionship during COVID lockdowns.
During the visit, TAFE NSW students fed orphan joeys, cleaned out their encolsures, made up food and even hung special “bedding pouches” up for the young kangaroos.
TAFE NSW animal studies teacher Emma Readman said the visit highlighted TAFE NSW’s connection to local industry and commitment to getting students job-ready.
“We want to ensure these students have real skills in a real-world setting and are able to explore different parts of the animal industry, not just domestic pets,” Ms Readman said.
“It’s a great industry to get into if you have a passion for animals. There are so many different areas to go into and the companion animal industry is booming. Pets are more like family now that they’ve ever been and consequently, pet owners are spending a lot more on their animals.”
Wandandian Kangaroo and Wallaby Rehab Centre recruitment officer Helen Turnbull said partnering with TAFE NSW to foster future wildlife carers would build the caring capacity of the local community and ensure more vulnerable wildlife are protected.
“It’s great that TAFE NSW reaches out to ihdustry like this and gives back to the community,” Mrs Turnbull said.
“Some of these students may be inspired to pursue a career in wildlife, rather than domesticated pets.”
Mrs Turnbull said at least one of the students had signed up as a volunteer at the centre following the visit.
To explore the range of courses available at TAFE NSW and via TAFE Digital, visit www.tafensw.edu.au or phone 131 601 for more information.
Media contact: Dan Johns, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist, mobile 0477 722 428