Be. Employed Intern grows into new role at DOC

18th March 2017

Be. Employed Intern Hannah Shepherd holds us the chew cards that she uses to identify pests in the area she has been monitoring.This month we spoke with Be. Employed Intern Hannah Shepherd, who has just completed her internship with the Department of Conservation in Canterbury, which has led to an exciting fixed term contract.
Hannah completed a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Zoology and minoring in Environmental society at Otago University the end of last year, and moved to Christchurch in November to start the internship with the Planning, Monitoring and Reporting team at the Department of Conservation.
Her recently appointed fixed term contract is an amazing opportunity to further be involved in conservation work, and involves sample processing and fieldwork on Anchor Island, in the Dusky Sound, Fiordland. This is one of the few islands our endemic native land parrot 'Kakapo' live, with less than 150 birds remaining in the world. Being an island you need a permit to access- and it is an animal lovers dream. Hannah is delighted to be involved.
We asked Hannah a few questions about the internship experience and her new role and this is what she had to say:
What did you learn and what did you notice that changed in you during your 16-week internship?

I suppose the biggest learning points for me was how much cooperation is necessary, it’s so important for every individual to pull their weight and be a team player. It made me very honoured that I could be a part of this small team that produces significant findings. I also learnt that there are always improvements that can be made to aid in conservation and we must be able to adapt and except change to try and win the battle. I really came to appreciate how big the entire process was within DOC.
The biggest change in me was the feeling of having a purpose. Being part of a team where every person is important, made me realise that the work that I do makes a difference in New Zealand. Because of that, I felt like I was important and this sense of purpose made me enjoy the work I was doing even more.

What of your strengths did you develop in the role that you were in for your Be. Employed Internship?

My internship enhanced many strengths which can be applied specifically within DOC and the wider world. I’ve gained more skill in communication and knowing when to ask for help, even though I am a naturally independent person. And I have learnt to accept and use constructive criticism to improve my work.
I have also developed office based skills, and fieldwork skills, such as identification techniques. I learnt how to identify possums, rats, mice, rabbits, hedgehogs, stoats, cats, ungulates and insects by their teeth marks!

What unique qualities do you bring to a role as a result of your access need?

I think my "uniqueness" allows me to have such an overall positive attitude. I know how lucky I am to be here, so I take every opportunity I get and never take it for granted. Because of who I am, I’ve always had to work slightly harder to get good results and I believe it’s made me develop a good work ethic. I think it allows me to be more accepting of unique people and places.
How was the experience of your internship valuable when going into your current role?

Being a team player is vital in every job, as well working with people is essential. Looking out for team members and team members caring for you back, can aid in a positive sense of wellbeing. Work places are much better environments with a sense of team spirit as well as when positive mental and physical wellbeing is present. Being able to accept new ideas is also important, as change will always occur and I will need to adapt.
Accurately following the directions of an employer can be the difference being having a job or not, so I think that will aid me in future pathways. The technical skills I’ve learnt will benefit me in almost any future employment. Specific identification techniques will be helpful if I continue to work for DOC in the future (which I really hope I will).
The biggest part the Be. Employed internship has played in my future, is allowing me to be noticed. Often people like myself will be overlooked because other people look better on paper. I’m so thankful I got a chance to get my foot in the door and be noticed. I really value the work that DOC does and I’ve got all my fingers crossed I can stay within the organisation and continue it. If that unfortunately doesn’t happen, then I’ve gained an idea of what I want to do in the future and what career paths are available. And I’ve also gained some awesome experience which will help if I head in another direction.
Most of all, this internship and DOC as an organisation have given me so much confidence as a young woman in the work force.
I’m so incredibly thankful to Be. Employed and especially to Jake for all the work he put in to help me get to where I am!