Koala Conservation Australia Limited does offer a one-week work experience program relevant to people undertaking animal studies or wildlife carers. The following information will help work experience volunteers to understand what we can provide on the placement as well as what is required of them during their placement with us.
It is important to understand and accept that this is an animal hospital and research centre and, as with all animal clinics, you are likely to see unpleasant things at times. Volunteers must also accept that we cannot save all the wild koalas or any of the other species of wildlife that we may treat, and euthanasia/death does and will occur.
The Work Experience placement is for one week - normally, this is Monday to Friday, but if a volunteer wishes to work for 6 or 7 days then this can be considered.
The Koala Hospital operates on a twice daily working shift pattern - 8am to approx. 11am (depending on the number of koalas that we have in) and 2.30pm to approx. 4.30pm and work experience volunteers work both the morning and afternoon shifts. Given that there is a break of approximately 4 hours between shifts, some volunteers leave the Hospital during this time. However, if a volunteer wanted to stay at the Hospital that is no problem and if they wanted to, they could also help with work in other areas or some administration work during this period.A Team Leader runs each shift, and most shifts consist of different volunteers; so, volunteers will see a lot of new faces every day. Currently the Hospital has approx. 200 volunteers.
For the first couple of shifts, work experience volunteers will work with a local volunteer, who will provide the training required.Volunteers need to be aware that they are working with wild koalas, and even though some may appear quiet and gentle, they are quite capable of inflicting painful injuries with their razor-sharp claw and teeth. No untrained volunteer can handle or pick up any of the koalas without permission or guidance. Patting koalas is not allowed either. Failure to comply with this rule may result in the volunteer being asked to leave.On the morning shift, the work involves cleaning individual koala yards, cutting leaf within set protocols, feeding formula to some koalas, sweeping walkways and generally tidying up whatever is required in the yards. Volunteers may also be able to attend rescues and releases if they occur on their shift. There may also be the opportunity to watch some clinical assessments and procedures, but we cannot guarantee that these will occur during the placement week.On the afternoon shift, the water containers in each koala yard are filled up and leaf sprayed to refresh it. The rest of the shift consists of tidying up the areas around the hospital, sweeping, mopping floors, emptying bins etc.Yard work does not stop if there is pouring rain, hail or high winds as the koalas still need to be cleaned out and fed. Even though we do have some raincoats for volunteers to use, we suggest that volunteers bring their own rain protection. During high winds we will provide a safety helmet for volunteers to wear, which is mandatory.Covered shoes and working clothes are essential. Thongs, sandals and short shorts are not allowed.
All volunteers must provide written confirmation that they have a current tetanus immunisation and are fully vaccinated against Covid19.They must also be covered for insurance through TAFE or their University. If this is not applicable to a work experience volunteer, then they are required to become an Associate of Koala Conservation Australia Ltd who will provide public liability and personal accident insurance cover.The Koala Hospital is not able to provide accommodation or meals for volunteers, so they do need to arrange this themselves.We expect all volunteers’ behaviour to be polite, friendly and pleasant for the period they are with us (as we expect of all local volunteers). Failure not to work in with the team nature of the job, or rude and unpleasant behaviour towards our local volunteers or the public, will result in immediate dismissal from the placement and the volunteer will be asked to leave.
If you would like to apply for a placement or have any questions, please contact the Hospital Coordinator by email – [email protected] stating which program you are interested in.
Important:If you believe the koala you saw is injured or in any way distressed, please call our 24-hour Rescue Line immediately on (02) 6584 1522
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