JOB: Large Animal Attendant, Auckland SPCA
QUALIFICATION: Certificate in Animal Management (Captive Wild Animals)
"The Certificate in Animal Management is a really hands-on programme. There's lots of contact with animals through external placements, as well as practice in the small animal unit where you can learn and ask questions at your own pace. I really liked the classroom environment too – it's not like huge lecture rooms at some universities. I've had so many opportunities through Unitec - the most amazing one was hand-rearing cheetah cubs for Cheetah Outreach in South Africa. I also volunteered for DOC, catching bats every breeding season and taking samples.
The programme helped me make so many connections – to Auckland Zoo, to the SPCA and to DOC – and it's by volunteering for these organisations that I've learnt so much. I use the skills I learnt at Unitec every day – to move animals and work with them. I love seeing the animals transform from the terrible state they come to us in (sick, mistreated and malnourished), all the way through to being adopted out. You help them back to health and they learn to trust you - it's so rewarding."