Clontarf Aboriginal College completes first year of new Perth Zoo traineeship

  • First students graduate with a conservation qualification
  • Work placement program helping students become job ready

Perth Zoo is proud to mark the successful completion of the first year of its collaborative workplace program with students from Clontarf Aboriginal College.

This innovative initiative has seen seven students working alongside the zoo’s experts towards obtaining a Certificate II qualification in Conservation and Ecosystems Management.

Over the past year, the dedicated teenagers have had the unique opportunity to work alongside animal carers, education officers, and horticulturists in Perth Zoo's living classroom. To support their learning journey, each student was assigned a 'zoo coach' who provided guidance and mentoring throughout the educational experience.

This program is the result of a fruitful partnership between Perth Zoo, Clontarf Aboriginal College, and The Shoreline Foundation. In its inaugural year, it has already yielded impressive results, with:

  • Two of the students are on track to graduate this year;
  • The remaining five to graduate at the end of 2024 and continue their work placement at Perth Zoo;
  • One student now employed in a casual capacity within the zoo's education team, helping to inspire and engage students and visitors.

The primary goal of this program is to empower Aboriginal youth by enhancing their future employment prospects, benefiting the students and staff at Perth Zoo by fostering a deeper understanding of Aboriginal culture and connection to Country.


Comments attributed to the students:

  • Ezra: "The program has given me new ideas and pathways to consider."
  • India: "The traineeship has made me aware of different opportunities that I hadn't considered before, like mining. We need a land and conservation traineeship to get in, and this is a great stepping stone to be able to apply."
  • Tavian: "I want to work on Country when I go back home and see this program as a stepping stone to do that."
  • Pawuya: "I want to be a ranger back home in Warakuna and be involved in educating younger members in my community, just like my grandmother does."

Comments attributed to Environment Minister Reece Whitby:

“This milestone demonstrates the Cook Government’s commitment to genuinely supporting the employment of Aboriginal people.

“Over the last 12 months, I am told it has been a delight for the Zoo coaches to watch the students ‘come out of their shells’, become more confident and participate in a two-way knowledge exchange.

“I am delighted that two students have graduated and gained a conservation qualification that can open many professional pathways.

“I look forward to seeing this impactful program continue to set youth up for further future success.”

Media contact: Jordan Murray 08 6552 6300 or 0419 102 823