Central Regional TAFE students Corin Desmond and Jarna Kendle are among the first recipients of the Northern Agricultural Catchments Council (NACC), Conservation and Land Management (CALM) scholarships, delivered through the Batavia Coast Maritime Institute (BCMI) campus in Geraldton.
The scholarships were introduced last year, and Corin and Jarna encourage anyone considering a career in this industry to apply – regardless of their age or experience.
Corin, 20, began studying at the BCMI in 2014 and was a scholarship recipient in 2015. He startedstudying the Certificate IIin Conservation and Land Management (CALM), and is now completing his Diploma in CALM.
Corin went straight from Year 12 to study at the BCMI, choosing TAFE over university as he prefers the hands-on experience offered through vocational education and training. Since undertaking the course Corin said he has learnt theory aspects that are equally as important as the practical elements, like record keeping and management skills.
Growing up in an environmentally conscious family, studying CALM was a natural choice for Corin as he’s spent many hours volunteering with his father who works with the Department of Parks and Wildlife.
He was involved, from inception, in the black-flanked rock wallaby project where a number of the species once thought to be locally extinct were recently released into Kalbarri National Park.
“I was involved as a volunteer, collecting scat and setting up camera traps to monitor the effectiveness of pest control to check that the area was safe to release the animals,” he said.
Corin said receiving the scholarship has helped him enormously from an economic perspective.
“It has the flow on effect of freeing up more time for study and also allows me more time to volunteer, and take part in BCMI’s ongoing Abrolhos islands’ restoration project.”
The BCMI’s Biodiversity Conservation Projects Manager (Abrolhos islands), MarykeGray, said Corin has been a significant participant in the Abrolhos project.
“Corin is a great asset to the restoration project, demonstratingpractical skills including on-site groundworks, biodiversity monitoring and developing site management plans,” she said.
“He has shown great leadership to the Certificate II and III students on his regular trips to the Abrolhos.”
Both Corin and Jarna said the NACC scholarships are a fantastic opportunity and encourage everyone interested in the field to apply to study the CALM program at the BCMI. They both said lecturers have been incredibly supportive and helpful of anything they have undertaken, and age is no barrier to applying.
Jarna, 32, who is equally passionate about the environment, has returned to study after a break to raise her family.
Originally a biosecurity officer, Jarna said being a NACC scholarship recipient to assist with expenses while studying the Certificate IV and Diploma in CALM has not only helped financially but has given her confidence knowing she has qualifications on her resume.
“I’ve always been passionate about the environment and wanted to gain qualifications to confidently re-enter the workforce,” she said.
“Studying at the BCMI has been amazing with opportunities like being a part of the Abrolhos project and working with industry partners like NACC and the Department of Parks and Wildlife.”
Jarna said she has had some incredible job opportunities presented already, through the study and work experience elements of the course, including an offer from a national company with a base in Geraldton.
“I want to finish my studies first and then I really want to get back into biosecurity,” she said.
Both Corin and Jarna’s advice to anyone thinking about a career in CALM is to gain some experience by volunteering
“And get to know the local community members who are involved,” added Jarna.
For more information visit this link: http://www.durack.edu.au/students/future/scholarships/government-funded-scholarships on the Central Regional TAFE website or contact Maryke Gray on (08) 9956 2892.
Applications for the NACC scholarships close on Sunday, June 5 2016.