By Emma Neal, Trainee Ranger, New Plymouth
I grew up in Blenheim on a farm, riding dirt bikes and spending lots of time at the beach. I also love animals and enjoy all kinds of outdoor activities—so working for DOC is a dream job.
I was inspired to make a career change while browsing the internet looking at study options. I knew a career in DOC would suit me perfectly, but I had no idea how I would do it until I saw that the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT) had a trainee ranger course.
The course takes one year to complete and there are only 20 positions available. It’s hotly contested. I decided to apply the following year, to give me time to get some conservation experience to better my chances.
First, I enrolled at the Southern Institute of Technology, which offers a free conservation management course. After finishing this course, and doing some volunteer conservation work, I was ready to apply for the Trainee Ranger Program.
I was shortlisted for an interview and a week later got the acceptance call for the course. The course taught us practical skills such as riding quad bikes, using chainsaws, fighting fires, working in the snow and construction.
During the summer I got a job placement with the Christchurch City Council. A lot of time was spent planting on the dunes, trapping, spraying weeds and track cutting. It was an opportunity to put into practice what I learnt on the course and get conservation work experience.
At the end of the course we were all required to apply for a two year Trainee Ranger Program run through DOC. This is the level up from the program we had completed through NMIT. There are only seven positions available and 20 students all keen for the programme.
We were all interviewed by a panel of three DOC staff. We all filled in a form with our preference of what office we wanted to apply for.
My first choice was New Plymouth. Three days after the interview I got the call offering me the position in New Plymouth! Obviously I accepted straight away. I chose New Plymouth because it has the most variety.
There were so many different aspects of Taranaki that drew me here. The mountain, a dormant volcano located in the centre of the National Park, the marine reserves and maui dolphins, the blue duck/whio population and other threatened species.
My first week was packed full of exciting new things like a planting day at Sandy Bay, checking traps, and boating up the Mokau River for the opening day of whitebait season.
I have spent most of my time so far working as part of the biodiversity team checking possum traps. I’ve also helped with tracking tunnels, worked with the track team, been out into the marine reserve to check the buoys and helped out with species monitoring.
My first two months with DOC have been awesome. All the hard work I put into getting this job has paid off.
Through working at DOC you can contribute to the prosperity of New Zealanders and our beautiful country. To learn more about a career at DOC check out the careers section on our website.