Saturday, April 13, 2024

Meet Canberra’s newest park recruits

Meet the “ParkCare Crew” – a new team in the ACT Parks and Conservation Service staffed entirely by ‘Jobs for Canberrans’ recruits. 

Hailing from a variety of backgrounds and experiences, each crew member has already played a vital role in maintaining the Territory’s parks and reserves and supporting the essential work of ParkCare volunteers. 

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, Bhutan-born Tshering Norbu was working as a kitchen hand to financially support his wife through university.

“After [losing my job], I was worried about the living expenditures and payment of university fees,” said Tshering.

“It came as an immense relief when ACT Government announced the Jobs for Canberrans Fund to support those whose jobs were affected by COVID-19.”

COVID-19 brought a similar experience for Tshering’s fellow crew member, Imran Hassan.

Having earned a master’s degree in Automotive Engineering in the United Kingdom, Imran was working in hospitality at the Australian National University (ANU) when the pandemic hit.

“COVID has impacted me both financially and mentally. I lost my job as my workplace had to shut down during the pandemic,” Imran said.

“The Jobs for Canberrans Fund was a blessing as it provided job opportunities for people who aren’t eligible for the Federal Government’s financial support.”

In their first few months, the ParkCare Crew have already undertaken weed control, tree planting, trail upgrades and fence repairs across the ACT. They have removed illegal bike tracks, cleared roads and fences affected by storm damage, and worked closely with volunteers.

Their work is already being noticed by park visitors. 

“We get praise from the general public in the park all the time and they’re always happy to have a chat and thank us for all the good work we’re doing,” Imran said.

As well as improving the ACT’s parks and reserves, the ParkCare Crew are also gaining valuable training and experience to aid future career opportunities. 

“I am thrilled with the experiences I’ve had for the last three months, as I got an opportunity to learn new skills and knowledge and work with people from different cultural backgrounds as a team,” Tshering said.

“I am very grateful for this opportunity.”

For some members of the crew, the position has given valuable work experience to complement their university studies. 

Twenty-one-year-old Ainslie Mann moved to Canberra from rural New South Wales to study at ANU.

“When COVID-19 hit I was working in retail so instantly I lost my job when restrictions were put in place and unfortunately, I did not qualify for any government support,” said Ainslie.

“I study Ecology and Natural Resource Management and I thought that this would be an excellent opportunity to gain experience in the field in an industry that I hoped to be a part of once I graduate.”

The Jobs for Canberrans Fund was established in April to provide employment opportunities for people who have lost their jobs or have been significantly impacted due to COVID-19. 

For more information on the program, visit www.covid19.act.gov.au/jobsforcanberrans or view available jobs at https://www.myaccount.act.gov.au/casualjob/s/vacancies.

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