WRC Jogja prepares volunteer for animal care career.
“I have had so many opportunities here to develop personally and I feel more confident in my abilities.” Renae Smith – from Volunteer to Project Leader.
WRC Jogja volunteer lands animal care career
Renae first came to Jogja Wildlife Rescue Centre as a two-week volunteer. After falling in love with the project and its animals, she was set on an animal care career and extended her voluntary work. Let’s hear how she gained the skills needed to become the centre’s Project Leader…
What were you doing before volunteering at WRC Jogja?
I was studying Psychology in Australia, but realised this wasn’t the right path for me. I’d always loved animals and so started looking for voluntary positions to work with them. WRC Jogja seemed like the perfect opportunity. I’m so glad I took it, because it led to a complete reorientation of my career. After the two weeks, I postponed my studies and came back to pursue my passion!
What were you doing as a volunteer?
When I was volunteering I was mainly cleaning animal cages, preparing foods and feeding the animals and keeping the animals’ minds interested and active with enrichment. After volunteering I became an Intern Volunteer Coordinator. It was supposed to be a 3 month position but I stayed 2 years. The focus was to improve the volunteer program. The community work previously included running a kids club, teaching English and working with the locals who provided Javan dinners. I got to improve the Staff English class into a Community English Class, which was well received. I also added cooking classes with the locals and volunteers. We started to include cultural engagements and extended wildlife release education and culture education programs for volunteers. We also had a unique opportunity to benefit a low economic area with extended education problems and help small traditional business’ in the area (e.g. gamelan lessons and Batek lessons).
What were your biggest achievements?
Filling out the volunteer program by introducing more involvement and engagement with the local community.
What skills did you gain by working at WRC Jogja and how did volunteering help your career?
I learnt all about the animals, how to effectively rehabilitate animals using enrichment and the proper ways to undertake releases back into the wild. I also learnt all the management skills about culture and conflict resolution. Having the freedom to think of new ideas and improve the project meant I learnt an awful lot. Being Project Leader for 2 years gave me invaluable experience.
What is your advice to those aiming for an animal care career?
The most important thing to have when working in an animal/conservation career is passion! Add to that a great deal of patience when waiting for funding – something common in many projects.
If you’re interested in an animal care career and want to gain experience, or if you just love animals and want to help them, check out the project. There’s also a 15% discount if you book by the end of 2017!