Careers & Training

TAFE QLD: Fine-tuning trade skills to benefit her wildlife career

The Covid-19 pandemic has challenged us, uprooted our plans, and for many, has forced us to pivot or change careers.

Wildlife Science graduate Jenna Hayhoe was eager to embark on a career in wildlife after graduating university in 2019 but the devastating and widespread bushfires followed by the pandemic forced her to take a new approach to achieve her career goals.

Hayhoe, who is now completing a light automotive apprenticeship at TAFE Queensland, said she had no choice but to reassess her career options and explore a new pathway into her chosen field.

“As soon as I finished my university studies, everything hit. I applied for so many jobs and nothing came back. I even had volunteer jobs organised to get work experience but that all got cancelled with Covid-19,” Hayhoe said.

Having worked at her parent’s automotive workshop P & G Mechanical Repairs since she was 16 years old, Hayhoe decided that getting her existing skills recognised would be her best option. An automotive trade qualification will also strengthen her chances of gaining future employment as a park ranger while giving her a stable career to fall back on.

“I decided to start an apprenticeship around the time of Covid-19 because I wanted to do something during this time that would really benefit me in the long term.

“Park rangers need to be able to do maintenance on cars and small engines so my trade will really help me when I apply for jobs in the wildlife field.”

Hayhoe’s parents have owned P & G Mechanical Repairs for over 18 years and while working in the family business can have its challenges, Hayhoe really appreciates the opportunity she has.

“This pandemic has taught me that a lot of people don’t have job security and I wanted to make sure that I had something to fall back on,” Hayhoe said.

“Dad was happy for me to get my trade qualification as he wants me to have the skills to be independent in the future and be able to do stuff for myself. Everything I learn here is multifaceted which I can apply to other things and not just cars.

“It’s also something that I really enjoy and whilst Dad’s around to teach me what he knows I may as well take benefit from it.

“There are also some benefits for Mum and Dad by employing a mature aged apprentice so it’s a win-win for everyone.”

Hayhoe’s years of experience in the workshop means she’s been able to apply for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), a process where existing skills already learnt can be transferred as credits within her apprenticeship.

“There are about ten or so units that I might be able to get RPL for. A lot of the servicing aspects I have been doing for years so it’s great that I can shorten the length of my apprenticeship by getting recognition for what I already know,” added Hayhoe.

“The remainder of the training that I need to complete, I can do at TAFE Queensland at a time that suits our business.”

For more information about where TAFE can take you, visit or call 1300 308 233.

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