Orange’s Jennifer Vandenbergh is a self-confessed lover of all animals.
The positive impact they can have on the lives of others is precisely what led her to pursue a career devoted to working with some of earth’s greatest creatures.
Thanks to the skills she learnt studying a Certificate III Animal Studies at TAFE NSW Orange, Ms Vandenbergh has not only been able to secure a job at Second Nature Aquarium, but has played a crucial role in setting up and running her brother’s stud farm, Kienella Aplacas in Orange.
“I love everything about animals, particularly the unconditional love, loyalty and companionship they provide,” she said.
“Since starting our stud, my brother, who is disabled, has been a different person. He just loves being with the alpacas.
“As well as working in the aquarium, I also visit nursing homes with my qualified therapy dog, Chevy, and it’s rewarding to see how happy she makes the residents.
“TAFE NSW provides a welcoming learning environment and supportive teachers with a strong understanding of what is required to work with animals. Throughout my course, I have also developed the skills and confidence to apply better customer service, bookkeeping and documentation to the family business and at Second Nature Aquarium.”
Owner of Second Nature Aquarium, Holger Loecker, said Ms Vandenbergh is a vital part of their team and always serves customers with a smile on her face.
“She is a great addition to the shop, always eager to learn and uses her knowledge she has learnt from her TAFE NSW studies,” he said.
“Next to great customer service and making good suggestions regarding compatible fish and plants, she also takes the time to help customers. The highlight of her day is fish feeding time - you can really tell she enjoys being around animals.”
TAFE NSW Animal Studies Teacher, Debi Coleman, said Ms Vandenbergh is a dedicated and enthusiastic student.
“Jennifer is learning the skills needed for both her roles including animal identification, handling and feeding, health care and animal welfare. She’s a wonderfully talented student, and this is just one example of TAFE NSW delivering training that results in exciting, real-life employment outcomes.”